Jenny Badger

A Mother's View

In April the field’s a bovine nursery
And the young, I see
From my window, are nursing from former heifers
That had no choice but to fill their udders
And stand while they suck
The life from them, which was given up
When they let them out.

I no longer hear my own children whine,
For my insides are all dried
Up. And my heart—I fear—no
Longer beats, and my face shows
The wear of an old cow.
How I’ve kept these feelings hidden down
Low—deep within my unthumping heart.

For years I watched these fields of grass
Cycle through the nursing calves,
And I wondered
If all mothers
Fake an inclination for the chore
Their gender must do to ensure
Life keeps living.

So on a whim I climb the hill
And cross the wooden fence until
I find an old cow sleeping.
I wonder if hers is still beating—
A quiet, clean cut down her chest
Let’s me feel inside and put to rest
My query. Now I start digging.