Twenty years ago in Illinois
I lived my life in fields,
watching daybreak push
through barn walls into bands
of haydust and summer.
Memory ties me to weather,
the thick swarm of air mid-day
that shifts the fields into motion,
and the coolness of evenings.
Now, I have only moments between cities.
On a hill,
there are Holsteins in a circle.
In the center are seven calves,
lying down like innocents.
To them, I am nothing.
They have the sweet milk
of their mothers, and the new grass
to keep them fed.
This is why I work, and live my life.
What else can I do?
I pull off onto a grey slope of gravel,
and park near the fence.
It is rusty barbed wire,
hanging loose from post to post.
A calf wanders across the shadows
that have spread out into the pasture.
I have never seen a cow this close.
It has wet-rimmed eyes that see the grass
and shade I have become.
Copyright © 2004 Linda Schaible
Beginning February 2nd . . .
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