A cow is screaming across the arroyo
It’s a blasting Warsaw Ghetto scream.
It speaks of the end of time on earth.
Can I help her? No. She’s a little diverted
when I come close but cranes out her neck
and continues screaming, full volume.
I know that her calf didn’t die,
a little bull calf standing off to the side
staring at her with a “what’s wrong with mom
look.” Next morning she’s dead
already smelling badly in the heat.
I think of the Bishop of Lyon in the 9th century
who said animals don’t’ go to heaven because
they don’t contribute to the church.
But my dead cow has no money, only death.
I see that the cow dogs are getting ready to eat her,
Nothing goes to waste here except me and cow tears,
I see her spirit struggling to ascend to heaven.
That’s no lie. I help her push off,
lifting her big head above a mass of bugs.
by Jim Harrison who told me he could have sent a poem about a poet who falls in love with an elephant and they get married. He wrote “I don’t see anything wrong with marrying an elephant except for the obvious weight and height problem.” Harrison’s poetry is published by Copper Canyon Press and this poem will appear in his next collection. Harrison is an MSU graduate and the author of more books than should be counted in one sitting (Somewhere around 30). He’s a firm believer poetry should be read one-a-day, one poem at a time.