Poetry: “Memoir” by Carla Panciera

The calf wandered down his driveway

and Louie, thinking: deer, got his gun.

But when the little Jersey emerged

from the buzzing haze of spring,

Louie lay the gun across his lap,

called: Here, Calfie, Calfie,

and the calf, Liza-lashed, a starlet

on mother-of-pearl hooves, came.

Louie had no rope, but you can’t sit forever,

your arm around a calf’s neck, even one

as satiny (oh, love! to smell like

sun and milk!) as this one.

Finally, with an extension cord leash,

they set off to find the owner.

The end of the story goes something

like this: Louie buys the calf. Feeds it

grain sweet as brown sugar, hay

festooned with alfalfa’s purple blooms.

One January, he stuns it, slits

its throat, the black eyes filmy, exiting.

The beginning, naturally, remains unaltered:

The unpaved road landmarked

with potholes, the provocation of (finally!)

spring. That day, the wind crooned –

treetopstreetopstreetops, while a man

led a calf with an extension cord.

They looked, for all the world

(a stonewall of chipmunks, a forest floor

of hermit thrush and mushrooms,

a mayfly constellation) as if

in search of an outlet, some arboreal current

to prove: also, such things exist.

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