Something Great

For years now I have missed

the calves being born

to the mothers in the field on the other side of the fence.


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,

only waiting.

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 following their performance overnight.

The steady arch of their necks are bent to eat grass in a shrug.

Even the calves move about with the nonchalance of having legs

and perfect tufts of fur at their fetlocks.

Their markings are like brilliant, individualized 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.


If only,

the holiest of affairs weren’t so easily elapsed.

How often would we stop to consider then,

that something great has happened


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