Six Jerseys browse across a hillside,
rippling dark fawn in August sun,
working the negative space, grazing
slowly against the lea’s fresh green.
For them each bite’s a bit of news –
alfalfa mixed with orchardgrass or
meadow brome or fescue, steering
clear of wild onion or dandelions.
For us, when the dinner’s done, all
homogenized, bereft of form, chyme
parades down into our factory. But
cows react in brown-eyed thought.
What we consume is quickly rushed
to inner parts that feed our sentience.
Those sweet Jerseys savor everything,
chewing their cud, tasting all possibles.
We aren’t cows, a-field and contented.
We count all the blades of grass we eat.
We hunger for more, extracting its taste;
that gone, the taste of the cud. And as
we are human, some concept of the cud.
Was this grass or some strange decision?
Poison and lies are not the very worst.
Is there grass tomorrow? Is it green?
P. H. Coleman graduated a fine art BA, sold shoes and ad copy, and taught chemistry at university and high school for years. Though a PMY, he still has things to say, and has done so in obscure publications in Vermont and Missouri. He is at present safely woven into the Vermont hills with three dogs who tell him what to write.