the bull


How are you able

To yell for hours

And over and over 

You lift higher

Biting on each word

This tireless anger

Where does it live?

     In you

     In me

Like bulls pounding 

Against a steel gate

An airless sky

Eternally orange dusk

Dust and

The rattling of naked nails 

against their skin

Dark fur covered veins and muscles

Cracked hooves knocking rocks

And clawing earth 

Bodies thrashing in waves

Of one sourceless cry


You erupt


A steady “sssssss” of air conditioning somewhere above

A young black calf

Struggles to stand in the barn


His eyes are too large

Deep enough to hold the sky

And drink the ocean whole

Blearily blinking mucus 

Away from those dark pools

He stares at me


My anger is but a baby


I fluff the floors with hay

And run my hands along the fence

I do not dare cry about it


The dulled shouting raises

Cries shriek clear

 Then still again

In a long creak of the barn doors


You lead your steaming bull 

down the ally

While she is solemnly bowing 

Her hornless head


Tiring, yet still 

shoulders churning, one then the other

rotating high to clipped ears

Nostrils huffing out all the air in her lungs


In the stall

I crouch


It does no use

Showing you what you do

When this is not you

Who was angry


I settle down in the straw

The dirt falls in my heels

Steadily, hooves sound near 

Shaking the wall 

Against my back

I feel the earth leap and flee

Like a million frogs in spring


          The steps begin to lull

     And drown 

     Out of the barn


I sit beside the head of the young bull

Weak, and gentle

I feel his weight

Drop into my lap


The night pauses

And the night breathes

But the world outside exists without me

And when dawn comes

I must wake the bull

I must lead him to graze

And wash him in the lake

I must shake his pail; keep him out of his daze

I must make his bed at the day’s end

And the bull sleeps again


In the day

He nudges my side

And soft whiskers skate across my palm

The bull is thinking of his mom


And I pray

That when she passes there is no

Passing recognition

No maternal connection

No yearn at all


I pray he does not recognize his capability to be angry

In the bull he is