Brian R. Young
In Praise of the Cow
Star watcher, source of the Milky Way, unflinching gazer,
you are The Thinker not carved by human tools,
the patient mother and father, the worrier of cud, the muller.
You are the choir of gently humming mills,
the thunder cloud, the observer
of the sun as it falls and rises.
You are exposed to the elements, yet impervious.
You are the restless chorus the crickets ignore.
Blessed giver of fecundity, it was you
who conceived the first numbers—one
and two—it was you who kept count—one two,
one two—of the steps, and though others
have gone on to count higher, it is you
who keeps the first numbers
for when they return. Your heart
of iron knows they will. You are
the cliffs by the ocean of clover.
If the spirit can be returned to the cut,
put it back. If the calf
can be reborn, re-forge her bones,
re-curl her coat, re-lift her ears.
If she can breathe again, re-flare
her nostrils, re-raise her head,
re-open her eyes, and re-straighten
her knees as she attempts to re-stand.
Unfurl the plastic wrap like the flag
of a country that no longer exists.
Let the blood re-pour through the veins.
Let the mind re-claim its consciousness.
Let the muscle return to the shank,
the tongue remember how to taste.
Let the hoof feel its place in the mud,
the skin be tickled by the brush of the grass.
It is not too late for the part to start living
again, like it wants, in the whole.