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COW GETS MARRIED
something about the heifer in his backyard
made me want to marry
his only daughter. perhaps the cow’s
plump neck, yellow with dust,
reminded me of the rush of excess?
the way she nibbled (so reservedly)
whenever I passed by,
perhaps it made me wish I had
a piece of something coy?
I pinched the barbs on the fence around her
and it only made me feel worn down
so one night I addressed the farmer.
certainly I assumed a more
satisfying dowry than a half-empty
pack of cloves and bag of biscuits
but she was the only daughter
so I took her without reservation
into my home where I watched the weight
of her neck day after day, hid snakes
in her pillowcase to see how round
her brown eyes could get.
she said she’d never disappoint me and
became more cow-like every day,
begging me to buy her a delicate brass chain,
but all the same she developed
the peevish habit of comparing
all she saw with the taste of flax blossoms.
my love was not as blue as she’d liked it to be,
my stride was not at all star-shaped or irish,
nor did it contain enough fiber for her liking,
my bed gave her nothing to thresh during the day.
she started to moan at night
so rhythmically I could not sleep,
instead I sat on a wooden stool and counted
the songs she wished she could sing—
exhausting work that made me remember
my days as a business man,
formidable creature who wore black
clothes even in summer,
the man who swooned when he walked past
the abandoned dairy down the road
and thought he was tired
of elevators and silver pens.
one night I decided to wait for
this man to come walking by my house.
when he did, we shared a biscuit.
I told him the woman roaming
in the backyard was my only daughter,
true as the flood and yellow as dust.
the drool ran clear down his neck
and he bought her right then for
everything I could fit in a bucket.