For years now I have missed
any calves being born
to the mothers in the field at the fence to our south.
During the day,
they stand with their bellies as wide as they are long,
moving slowly; sometimes with their unequal ribs
shifting to throw off their shuffle towards shade.
One will stand rocking, as mothers sometimes do in labor,
but then she will ease her way below the cottonwood,
occasionally lifting her nose to meet the flash of doves in the branches above.
Sometimes she will look at me: the whites of her eyes telling nothing,
In the morning, there will be two or three new calves,
altogether pointed joints and bounce,
awkwardly bent to nurse.
And the mothers will stand there the same,
as if nothing has changed from yesterday.
Their big, solid bodies remain indifferent to their overnight performance;
the steady arch of their necks are bent to eat grass in a shrug.
Even the calves move about with the nonchalance of new legs
and tufts of fur at their fetlocks, their markings like brilliant, individulized maps.
How ordinary, that the wonder of their coming waits for night.
As if the thousand-pound mothers are designed to get on with it,
Nothing to see here but life moving forward.
the holiest of affairs weren’t so easily elapsed.
How often would we stop to consider that
Something great has happened here…