by Stephen Page
I have holstered my gun and sheathed
my knife and got down to the business
The orange blossoms smell sweet
The business of all ranchers is grass.
cows eat grass. They fatten. Ranchers sell
What peace is the Wood. The drizzling
rain quiets the clearing. It mists
If grass is shorn too short, the roots
suffer, cannot extract energy from leaf
blades which extract energy from the sun.
Sunset is a zillion gallons of orange paint.
I sit on one side of a tree root
and cows curiously face me,
looking over an electric fence.
The Sky is so large.
I sit on the other side of the root,
and a line of eucalypti face me,
revealing between their trunks, the Wood.
The thing you have to deal with
when you have cow pastures is shit:
shit on your shoes, shit on your
pants legs, shit on your truck, shit
on your hands when you open gates.
Silence is the owl about to take flight.
My business partner who farms
lots of my land, wants to plow
away more of my grass, shoot
the quail, trap the armadillos, flit
away the mockingbird, spray
to death the flowers, plant
genetically modified soy, sterilize
my herd to nothing.
The migrating butterflies fill clouds.
In the fattening lot, a calf
suckles a tuberculate cow,
and in the bull paddock,
a sheep lies on her side,
cycling air with her hooves,
diarrhea coruscating her tail.
As published on Hinchas de Poesia
and included in the book A Ranch Bordering the Salty River by Stephen Page and published by Finishing Line Press
Finishing Line Press has a new blog titled “The Paddock Review”