Stubborn Cow

Your standoff with the boundary fence continues.
You lean your weight into it. Not your full weight
or you might topple. Just a lumbering
steady pressure. You pull back when the jolts of pain
become too much – your bullwhip tail powerless
against the low-voltage assault. Largely
you absorb the shocks. Unfetter the odd bellow
at midges furring the slurry pit. As days trudge by
you feel your opponent yield, inch-by-inch
under half-a-ton of black and white burden.
You chew on that thought – cool as a gunslinger
before the draw, barren eyes drilling into the future.
Inevitably, raw heft buckles the fence.
You tie your tongue round wire to drag it clear,
gag on mouthfuls of electricity.
But the grass on the other side is emerald green
and you ease into the long grind of breakfast.
Later, slumped and flanked by horseflies, you wait
for the gentle scratch of rain. Blink at a dry-stone wall.


First published in The Rialto