Far Field

by Iris Jamahl Dunkle

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It was in the far field that we found the cow: belly swollen
beyond recognition. Even though we were young, we saw
how the cow’s eyes rolled back and knew the risk. So, we ran

to get the farmer who rushed as if to the beside of a dying child
and kneeled in the wet dirt to gingerly split open the cow’s belly.
What spilled out—a universe we’d never known

where life flits just out of sight, a tiny blue butterfly.
The cow did not survive. The grown man kneeling in the dirt
wept openly into his calloused hands. And everything felt different

as if carved into wood. Loss became a braille I could run
my fingers over when those I loved began to disappear. The wet grass.
The smell of earth. The way the blue sky kept on.


end of story

© 2022, Iris Jamahl Dunkle