Four-thirty and it’s cooled down
from 115—black cows are leaving
sycamore shade for the water trough,
plodding several hundred yards of hard clay
and short blond fuzz to drink,
not like last night’s forceful mob,
but one-by-one, the order established
over years of living together—uphill
two hundred more to shady Blue Oaks
to gather and decide which way to go.
The heat has slowed their rhythm
only slightly, they are bound to graze
what’s left on the slopes behind us:
take the steep trail to the top of the ridge
or the long pull only part-way to the sky.