Holy Cow By John J. Petrolino III
Just a small dash of milk to my coffee
lifts the heat and takes away bitterness.
At five Ante Meridiem,
the universe cracks open, light and warmth
Spread across the Verdant Mountain valley.
Uncle Jake stands in the family manger,
the Holsteins sing in melody as Jake
moves the silage closer to reach with boot
and they wait for relief from him.
Their teats feel flaccid to my untrained touch
and my virgin hands struggle to bring milk.
Jake cleans and preps and milks with ease,
moving the pulsator from girl to girl.
The milk glides in little short bursts,
into the big stainless steel tank.
The manure pit comes alive, and chain
guides the conveyor around bringing fodder
away to become field fertilizer.
The cows eat from Uncle Jake’s manger,
as they are relieved from their heavy milk.
The conveyor goes around removing waste,
each cow spoken to, patted, cared for and loved.
Milking done, they are brought to pasture.
One by one, unhooked from their stalls they wait,
they follow Uncle Jake out to their confine,
the sun has risen.
Aunt Pauline gives us pancakes and is proud
of the pure Maple Syrup extracted
from her Vermont sugar bushes that year.
Uncle Jake comes in with a pitcher of milk
and Pauline sets the freshly filled creamer
on her table to add to our coffee.
In the fields after breakfast, the silage
is reaped down, collected and compacted.
The truck, with great hydraulic power tips
fresh cut silage set into the machine
and a bar spins around to guide the grass
into the long plastic sack for storage.
The grass sends off heavenly aromas.
And on, Jake continues his daily chores
Bringing the fresh cut grass that his cows need
Just before milking time begins again,
Uncle Jake checks the manger and fop pit.
The Holsteins go winding their milk barn
to begin their second milking that day.
Around goes the silage and graining carts
and pulsators move from girl to girl,
Jake circling the barn all evening.
Once Jake makes sure the rounds complete,
each cow is released to pasture.
Down and around the isles they go,
mechanically they move to nighttime graze.
Every few days a truck spins down the road,
up the driveway and to the storage tank.
Milk is moved from tank to tank and sent off,
to become yogurt or big wheels of cheese
After the day’s end my lover and I
gain relief, dining out in rolling hills
sharing tastes as mouths open round and wide,
staring into each other’s wanting eyes.
I pour milk into my coffee and it
swirls around as I add some sweetener,
bringing spoon to mouth for a and taste.
We share a pile of deep rich brownie,
and I contemplate all that surrounds us.