Dream of the Milking-Cow

Despite the vintner’s dirge,
           I’ll make way through the frail clusters
                     and bring to bear
the broad bulk of being with calf
           and my earthy color, the smear
                     walnut of a bruise.

Farmhands are no bother.
           The ewe and doe regained dominion
                     with great unfussiness.
In loving turn, the master’s hands
           pass my parts each dawn
                     in a sure, recurring aubade.

Even the black mares shy at my lowing,
           its widowish timbre
                     an emblem of morning,
a sickle heaving hay.

Joseph Spece split his youth between New York and Massachusetts. He received a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation in 2009.