August 18, 2009

Larry D. Thomas

STEERS IN SUMMER, LOWING

Against a backdrop of blue heaven
and mesas hot as blacksmiths’ anvils,
still stunned by the musk of men
who castrated them as calves,

they blanket the bleak range
like an unrolled scroll of reddishbrown
parchment scrawled with a savage
calligraphy of horns. Tails lash

hides so sunstruck they’re tanned
alive on racks of ribs
guarding hearts and the grand
bellows of lungs. The nubs

of grass they grind with giant molars
are but straw they burn to fuel
their hellfire breath. The lavenders
of the evening ahead are cool

foreshadowings of their fate
of cold storage lockers on whose dim
hooks they’ll sway as sides of meat,
drooling the mouths of those who fed them.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
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