that time I stole a cow…

Fair Trade

Thirteen years old
and mother-naked,
I shimmied down
the leaden drain-pipe,
descending from my closet room.

I scrapped my belly raw
on lumpy paint,
tore nails against tree-bark,
trading blood for pine-sap,
the cost of balance.

My house-warden’s room
never lit, I was free to dash
across the heather
exchanging in my flight,
the sweet plant scent
for the odor of the barn.

The door was never locked,
but the automatic
lights went up
when I opened the door.

I wished for coveralls then,
but there were none here,
and my clothing
had been confiscated.

The Cows did not know nakedness,
but their dark eyes drank
my sunless skin, and the doomed one
stamped in her stall,
hooves nicking the cement.
She knew something was coming.

I creaked wide the gate
and buried my face
in her dusty gold flank.
There is nothing on earth
so pretty as a prime-age Jersey.

She clothed my arms,
my shoulders,
in the warm milky film
from her generous tongue.

Rape could not diminish
her capacity for love.
We were sisters,
in that.

There was a halter,
I needed no saddle.

I used the splintered
stall frame for balance
to clamor to my seat,
my legs Clothed her shoulders.
We rode out into the night.

The lights died out behind us
as the air Breathed
trading barn-stench
for sweetness.

I would have chosen
the unused field-path,
the cow took the road.
We walked five miles,

until the moon
traded its place
for the bloody rim
of the dawn.

I rode with my spine
Held straight,
feeling no jolting.
She carried me gently.

When the sun showed
itself at last,
so large, so golden,
the policemen
were coming.

Their sirens wailed loud,
but could not startle us.
My sister stopped moving.
I raised up my arms.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope is an award winning author of the LBA, and a finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Awards. Her work was listed for the Cinnamon Press Novel Competition. She received her PhD from Aberystwyth University’s Creative Writing program. Her first poetry collection, A Radiance was published by Cultured Llama Press in June. Her second collection, Persephone in the Underworld has been accepted by Rufus Books and shall be released in 2016. Her work has appeared in: Anon, Art Times, Ampersand, Blue Tattoo, Sentinel Quarterly, The Delinquent, De/Tached (an anthology released by Parthian), The Writer’s Hub, New Welsh Review, Every Day Poems, And Other Poems, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Magma, Words & Music, The Quarterly Conversation, Tears in the Fence, Ink, Sweat and Tears and Planet. Her work is due to appear in the next issues of Poetry Review Salzburg, Acumen, Pacific Poetry , Music& Literature, Anon, and The Screech Owl.

Posted on April 6, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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