Calving Season – by Debbie Collins

Surrounded by a swarm of cousins,
I raced to the far field

Buzzards were circling low,
the grass all clover and dew

We could hear the mother bellowing
for her stillborn calf, a heart-rending sound

Grandad drove out in his truck
and hoisted the calf into the bed,
its perfect black coat still slick with birth

gentle now

Us cousins walked to the gulley
to meet Grandad, the dirt red as coffin silk —
he slid the calf down the gulley wall

When he left, the girl cousins cried
and the barefoot boys
pinged rocks at the calf’s side


Debbie GDebbie Collins has been published in many online and print journals, including Third Wednesday, The Wild Word, and The Lake. Her first chapbook, He Says I’m Fierce, was published by Finishing Line Press in April 2021.