The Cow

— Vuong Vu

In league with the light:
The magic hour, pre-sunset light,
It sets her aglow,
Her frame softly haloed,
Her song now softly hallowed.

     — Harry Lafnear, “Ooo”

At night driving, you couldn’t see the hills,
but when morning came they emerged
from the dark like a herd of horses
marching into the mountains.
When I first left home to live on my own,
I’d drive late evenings into the hills,
into the night, to find my place in the world.
On nights when the sky was so clear
I thought I could reach out to touch the stars,
I’d stop by car on the side of the road
to take in the stillness, the clean air
and clarity of the night.
Once I stopped by a large oak tree
and saw in its shadows a cow, cowering
and quiet. Perhaps she was lost
from her herd, she hid beneath in the shelter
of the branches and breathed as calmly
as she could and lay still as a boulder,
her brown colors hidden in the overgrown grass,
but I saw her eyes, with a glint of moonlight in them,
and framed by lashes, how she seemed remarkably
human, so lost and scared and alone.
The night around was endless, and the moon shone
brightly in the sky, illuminating the hills
and the valley below with its crystalline and cold light.

One thought on “The Cow

  1. This poem captures that magic moment of connection: two creatures, almost alien to one another, meeting in quiet surprise. I think many of the best and the worst moments in life have such an instant at their core. The best, as here, are when you recognize a spark of yourself in the other. No further understanding is required. One’s heart focuses and simultaneously expands.

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