I am a dirt farmer
Who dreams of poetry.
Is that so strange? Is anything?
I have bent myself thankfully
Over the heat of cowchips.
When the lespedeza flowers
I breathe its blooms.
The calf I winch to birth
Grows legs like oaks to graze on,
And stuck hogs bleed for breakfasts.
This morning at milking
I kissed the cow’s warm flank
And she kicked the milk to froth beneath my knees.
I forgave her,
Then cried with the cats.
Now the manure is in bloom,
Thistles defend the driveway,
And corncobs gird the mud beneath my boots.
I roam my acreage like a sweet spy.
Untitled ["I am a dirt farmer"] by William Kloefkorn, an excerpt from Alvin Turner as Farmer, as published in Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems, edited by Ted Genoways (Bison Books, 2010).
Art credit: Details from untitled image taken in 1954 during milking at Art Badertscher's dairy farm near Fresno, California (USA), by LIFE photographer Nat Farbman.