national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Dairylide

Brittany Kleinschnitz  • 
Bennington College

A cow lies in a paddock,
a dead eucalyptus.
A cow lies in a paddock,
dead, beside the fence.
A sheep scratches its wooly side
on the fence, brown.
A cow and a horse share a paddock,
the paddock is not yet burning.

 

There I am on the cliffside
above the stone water,
above the dam on the cliff rock.
On the bus, I question the authenticity
of this experience.
A girl has drowned in France
and at evening, the body on the bank
bloats white, the skin blues.
In the morning
a dog finds her but does not whimper.
In the afternoon
the same dog herds wooly sheep
through matchstick trees.
The eucalyptus peels her own skin off
in downward pinkish curls.

 

A farmer skins the dead cow by hand.
The meat is pinkish and heavy,
much like the milk. Intestines
bloat white in the heat, blue-veined.
Atop the beehive boxes passers-by
place towers of rock totems,
or tie their boots by the laces
to barbed wire fences.