The Farmer's Wife
'Easy, Boss....So-oo-oo, Boss.'
The small barn is dim, stuffy with rotting wood
the smell of summer hay, urine and fresh excrement
of rich hot cows their breaths meadow-sweet.
The building rustles with little movements
in the rafters, the old plank walls
restive animals cropping in their troughs.
Three sloe-eyed cats sleek with mice and milk
sit and mewl, and they wait
strategically short of an irritated hoof.
The woman settles securely on the three-legged stool.
She heaves her heavy skirts up and aside
baring her ankle boots, her knees, almost her thighs
quickly glancing left and right, and behind
to secure her privacy beyond doubt.
Expertly she wedges the heavy trug between her knees
and strokes the cow's golden flank.
'Easy, Boss. Soo -oo – Boss.'
A mantra sibilant, restful and intimate.
The gentle Jersey shifts and lows softly
its udder swollen, eager for the woman's fingers on its teats.
She begins to caress, pull and press over the wooden pail.
She milks the cow rhythmically, sympathetically
cooing to herself.
She savours the smell of the thick warm milk, the cow's pulsing hide
the pungency of the close barn.
She likes the scent of herself released from thick clothes.
She breathes deeply and speaks softly,
'Ah, Flora Jean, 'tis a fine cow you are.'