flower in an air that might be dreaming Dakota.
A tanker rounds the bend with its flexible load
of fire as new grass deepens a prairie pasture
where forty cows graze, muzzle deep in growth.
A black Baldy raises her face to bawl out a call
for the calf taken from her side. She gets no joy
from her cropping, her big baby hauled off to
Whitewater’s feedlot to grow thick in the stink
of a thousand of his kind. The black cow bawls
again, then lowers her head to the new grass.
The tanker shifts gears, wisps of exhaust smoke
trailing away, the sky inhaling the black breath
of the Peterbilt, its fat tires spinning over
the blue trail past the cows to the Whitewater
bridge and west past the feedlot where the calf
noses grain, his hooves splayed in the muck.
A buzzard rides the air that wafts the stink
and spins the windmill’s rusty flower and fans
the black cow in her distress west of El Dorado.
— Steven Hind
Steven Hind divides his time between Hutchinson where he taught for three decades and the family farm on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills near Madison. His collection, The Loose Change of Wonder, was selected as a 2007 Kansas Notable Book.