Winter and I've nothing to offer you.
It's the New Year: I'm resolutely
refreshed, a wasteland of an open system.
I can improvise on "negative capability" till
the cows come home. But they never left.
I went to the gym, the lake, out for milk -
they're still here. They look out my window
at Lake Erie and listen to its wind. They try
to help me realize my full potential and for
that gesture I would offer them a pasture
if I could.
a week I'll be in Mexico and they'll have gone
to Alberta, or wherever fed-up cows go, to
allow some farm family to get on with their lives.
went out for milk and the cows were right here!
They don't seem interested in anything I hold dear
(Tessie sniffled at my record collection!) and all I do
is insult them, though I strive to be gracious. The one
cow, Grace, has been reading my poems: she asked to be
included by name! Lucia eats an omelet as the strange
January rain begins to fall, and eyes the phone,
waiting for a ring from the Alberta bovine dispatch.
Alberta and why for God's sake these cows?
who will come home for them? These unlikely muses:
"Lay-it-on-the-line" Lucia, Garrulous Grace, Truculent
all the others, who will relieve them from the all-night
hootenanny, the endless cliché that threatens to haunt
until - who? (Yes! Exactly! they intone) - comes home?
We muse on this, the cows and I,
while the grass grows under our feet.
Coffey is a native of Western New York, recently transplanted
to the Midwest to become the Languages and Literatures Librarian
at Iowa State University. In addition to being a music writer
for Rochester, NY's CITY Newspaper, he has had articles, essays
and poems published in the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular
Culture, Jacket, Kiosk, Plum, 17 Ibarra, and Serving_Suggestion.