Coincidentally, the boss cow
had been named Queenie
as a newborn calf.
She was old
when I knew her
deciding when they’d
move to another patch of grass
or find a patch of shade,
lie down and chew their cud.
She’d lead the others, walking
single file to the pasture
after morning milking then back
the same red dirt path
for the second milking
in the evening and yet again
to a nearby field
at night. All I did was open
and close the gates.
She had crooked horns,
fawn coloured with white patches
though I don’t have a photo
and my memory’s sketchy. A white star
perhaps on her forehead.
This was a long time ago, before
stainless steel bulk tanks. The times
of galvanized metal buckets, a whirring
separator … I could go on.
Skim milk fed to the sows. The sweet smell
of newborn piglets.
Cream cans, Dad took in the pickup truck
to the nearby butter factory. The chipped
ceramic blue pitcher. Always cream
left over for desserts – bread pudding,
tapioca or rice, apple crisp. My favourites.
Â© E. E. Nobbs
Picture 10925368, painting by Sir John Arnesby Brown, image copyright Mary Evans / Medici
E.E. Nobbs lives in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Details about her poetry chapbook, The Invisible Girl (Doire Press, 2013), and links to her online poems, can be found at: https://ellyfromearth.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @ellyfromearth