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Calf

Calf

Kathryn Kirkpatrick
 

Curled like a comma,

                                 the new calf

survives February snow

                                    without shelter,

just a few bald tree trunks,

                                       and a lean-to

over bales of hay. His mother,

                                             formidable

as a paragraph,

                        has known a man’s hand

at her backside

                       up to his elbow with his iron limb,

his cache of bull semen

                                    an interstitial, artificial

jerking off,

                and I am angry at the cattlemen

for rushing these calves

                                     into snow,

for harnessing mother love

                                          to their money machine.

Have a heart,

                    I whisper over barbed wire.

What has struggled into life,

                                            breathed through blizzards,

is more than bones on a plate.

                                              Untether your lives

from that numbness.

                               Find yourselves

spindly-legged in the cold.

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Cedar Falls, IA 50614

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