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.