October 28, 2011

Killer cows

There were stories told on my school bus
by junior high boys
about farmers who were pinned in a stall
by startled steers

or news of a friend's father
crushed by an angry bull
in a corner by the barn.

These men had a unique
perspective on cattle which
was not easy to sing to the
tune of Old McDonald's Farm.

But to share that perspective,
all you need is to come round
the endrows of a field of corn
to face a heifer who has taken
advantage of an open gate
and has a glimmer of an idea
that freedom in corn
is a better option
than the pasture behind the fence.

The way her dark eyes
look past you,
or through you,
toward the open field
with breath billowing in the
early fall morning,
and the way the steam rises off
her broad black back,
and the way she points a front hoof
as a warning that she is moving forward
and is not concerned that you are standing
before her

is enough to remind you that she
could be
a killer cow.


L. Powell, 22 October 2011
Creston, Iowa