Tag Archives: bull calves





He wears his father’s stamp
at five weeks, biggest bull calf
in a family of cows and babies

ready to hold his herd against
anyone of any breed
at first light crawling out

from under the black screeches
and howls of darkness beyond
the moving shadows of a half-moon.

We are born with it, you know—
instinct deep within the soft marrow
of our bones living with wild

uncertainty until our fathers
return home. And we will follow,
watch and try to help them work

all day long, learn what we have yet
to grow into—and sleep bone-weary
with pastoral dreams of peace.




April in May
busy with cattle,
calves and auction yards—

visiting with solid souls
beneath faces worn outdoors
that follow the stuttering

monotone of auctioneers,
all-day waiting
for bulls too late to brand

in March to sell,
the garden blooms
without me:

peppers and squash,
tendrils of cucumbers
reach for support,

onions bow,
eggplants open arms
as the tomatoes wait

for heat to color
hard green globes.
Eight hundred pounds

without the red iron,
rope or vaccinations—
growing without me.