longhorn cow
Longhorns and Snowdrops
by Jenny Bates

The soul is the same in all living creatures,
although the body of each is different. — Hippocrates

Snowdrops grow at the edge of a field next to Lancashire cows.
Horns descend from their faces, the curve drooping graceful as flower petals.
Weary host of tree branches wear ice, delicate as lacewings.
Fragile to breaking from a wren’s pish.
January ends, tells us to think again.
Resurrection never ends, even in an orgy of snow.
Now becomes meaningless mush,
afraid of nothing at all being familiar.
Falling on ice, mind eating worms wriggling through ears…
like a wild woodchuck trapped in a library,
I ruff up my fur —
rescue outraging me further.
What would happen if we realized black
wasn’t black at all, only dark green?
Iridescent as a Crow’s wing?
A ruthless thought that could change history
marches over ridges, across valleys, pressing close.
The wild, dark, beautiful, remote, secret words are
travel-thoughts by foot, because there are
no real roads.
How to heal the earth? I ask Hippocrates.
The cow munches near petaline
white spread.
Raises his head in hope.

PHOTO: Snorty by Jim Champion.

BATES1 copy

I have lived in the Piedmont Foothills for 26 of my 39 years as a resident of North Carolina. I am locally known in Stokes County as an animal whisperer, especially to donkeys, coyotes and “Crow Folk.” My experience is full of friendships I would never have thought possible. Adjacent to Hanging Rock State Park, I myself have blurred the lines between what is tame and what is not. My surroundings for the most part are still and peaceful and timeless. The woods go on and on forever, you think, and there’s nobody in them but you. My poetry reflects all of this unique relationship I have to the area of land and the company of animals I keep. My poetry yearns and transfigures itself, like nature.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenny Bates is a member of Winston-Salem Writers. NC Poetry Society, and NC Writers Network. Her published books include Opening Doors: an equilog of poetry about Donkeys (Lulu Publishing, NC,  2010), Coyote with Coffee (Catbird on the Yadkin Press, NC 2014), Visitations (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2019), and Slip, her new collection (Hermit Feathers Press, NC 2020).