There are some cattle in the meadow.
Gentle and content in their community, in their
simple rhythm of grazing and rearranging
large bodies in a tapestry of black
and brown and white.
Unhurried, mouths full of clover and
hooves wizened to the sloping fields
and rockier soil, they arrive
at a creek, lapping water, cooling
their broad tongues.
Interlopers have mingled
their scents with the cattle’s.
The aggressing odor casts a spell
of dullness, embeds complacence
so they don’t startle at the sound
Finished at the trough, the sweetness
of the corn reminds them
of violets in the spring grass
even as it roughs their tongues
and abrades their bellies.
But no one realizes, that shoulder
to shoulder in the paddock, waiting
as the tapestry unravels hide by hide,
they have learned to count.
Then enclosed in the shoot,
hope is wasted on the concrete floor—
rivers of it, as each witnesses
the awful devouring of even
his angels by insatiable gods.