LATE FEBRUARY

Talking snow in California,
most calves branded, cows
milking heavy on the green,

we look ahead to spring’s
tall feed, hills painted
in flowers, everything

they offer in heaven, yet
it all depends on half-inch
rains, every three weeks

‘til the end of April –
a hundred pounds away
from doing it over again.

It’s supposed to be a business,
but bulls stray and take out
fences, leave work at home.

Then one year in five, the rain
forgets where we live, coming
down to the next sixty days.

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