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MUSED Literary Magazine.

Holsteins at Equinox

Jeff Burt

I walk with Holsteins ambling
barn-ward down a dark March trail,
their stretched and sagging udders
swaying like sloops in the harbor
at high tide, trudging the trail
with psychological interpretations
shining off their black
and white splotches of hide,
eyes bulging like full moons
newly risen from the wage
of war on gravity, their paycheck
an empty udder from seventy
pounds they sacked around.
We cross the meridian of muddy spring
into the dried dust of summer.

At the barn I will warm the jets that suck
the milk so they donít get shocked
and kick, and know which side
a cow prefers, how long
the tepid wash should take,
the number of free squirts
I can give the cats
with the last unhitched nipple.
The cows will grow content
with the stroke of wooing speech,
of song, and truth be told
I like the tone of my own voice
when talking to a Holstein,
and remind myself when coach
to coo in soft chromatic scales.
For now the bell cow leads,
and I follow her home.