Pastoral Ghazals

by Christine Bird

At the edge of my grandfather’s pasture
I grew like clover that covered the pasture.

My grandfather poured bright buckets of water
in troughs, legged bathtubs transferred to the pasture.

Grandfather’s cows stood with heads in alfalfa,
lifted their tails and watered the pasture.

If mornings were cool, cows chewed and meandered
clockwise, circling the square of the pasture.

Cows licked flies from sticky pink nostrils,
then scooped salt from saltlicks that pillared the pasture.

September, we herded the cattle to slaughter;
grasshopper wings whirred in the pasture.

Winter Sundays, grandmother roasted a rump,
kitchen windows steamed and blurred the pasture.

We said grace and chewed chunks of summer
and watched as falling snow buried the pasture.