p i r o u e t t e d u v a c h e
S H A W N L Y N N W A L K E R
- for PF
I have often aspired to be the sudden leap
of a cow. Field cow, Jersey girl. Cow that runs
the length of her electric fence to keep up
with passersby. Cow that will look at you. Cow that loves
a light summer rain. Sudden joyous leap and bellow.
Cow of my memory, cow that refreshes my mind
when the boom box cars crowd the intersection;
when the couple at the next table carries on,
loudly and insistently, banal conversation ruining
my delicious Chinese dinner of string beans
and imitation beef; when the owner of the café
plays without warning some riotous and punching music
while I am reading and thinking delicate thoughts.
Cows do not cause noise pollution, and frankly,
I find their smell very comforting. Lovely, ungainly
cows that run and leap and bellow and cross small streams
in their landscape. Cows that ponder and chew steadily
through the weather, until some excitement flings a thrill
to the tip of a tail. For I am talking about the cows
one finds dancing along back roads in the country,
and not the cows that live in the barn along the pike,
standing heavily in their own shit across the street
from the strawberry farm. No, I did not mean
to bring up the cramped cows, those sad cows
which collect silence, produce milk, and make me
uncomfortable. No, this is not an activist poem.
This is about me. Me and my aspirations.
If morning were longer, I would write a longer poem
about the cow that I love and have often aspired to be.
The beautiful, sudden, joyous leap of some huge cow.
Some enormous, awkward-looking, irregularly spotted
hulk of udder and angular protrusion, transformed
in communion with the early-evening exerciser
in the sunset. She leaps. She leaps and twists.
She bellows and approaches the fence.