“Kissing the Cow Patties” by Mike Catalano

Mike Catalano


for Robert Jackson

He said I lived in the city too long,
manacled to its sounds and smells,
to appreciate the silent echoes of nature.
He offered his tonic without quid pro quo:
a sylvan spread beyond the boondocks.
And the more I embodied the madness
of the multitudes, the more I yearned
for the haven of this sharecropper’s son.

Wild Canadian geese raced me to the pond
where they too, shed civilization.
The hundred head of cattle trailed me
to the top of the hill, for I
was the prodigal son, not the Pied Piper.
They forgave me with their mooing magic,
bathing me with grass-stained tongues,
and plopping poop like a baptismal ritual.

I have a lifetime pass to rekindle the kine
with their mother lode of manure anytime.
Like Adam at the dawn of creation, I
caressed their heads with family names.
I could kiss all these cow patties,
letting their sweet stench adopt me.

from Rattle #9, Summer 1998


Mike Catalano: “A transplanted Northern Californian, I have built an earth home from recycled tires and sat at the feet of the American Indian mystics. I hope my writing can capture the essence of Americana, its stories, and it’s legends.” (web)

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