Graham Barnhart

Driving to the airfield that would launch me to Texas,

from Texas to Bagram,

I dropped my cell phone beneath the driver seat. Just one of a thousand

small things

that grew then absurd in their insignificance. And my fingers —

just comprehending

a corner edge of the phone, drew all of my awareness there.

Beneath the seat

of my car I was approaching Zen — quiet and still. A stop light swung

like an empty bell

and I was filled by a sun-struck, dry-rot barn in the spreading high plains

wheat and wandering

herds of Anatolian Red, where a vet, myself, a pregnant heifer were baking

clay in a summer kiln.

Birthing chains chattered like wind chimes as we dragged them

from the truck bed.

Then in up to my shoulder, her warmth claustrophobic as the Oklahoma sky

flattening fields,

I felt two hooves pressed together — praying, unprepared,

and stupidly eager.


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