raindrops drip from the slates of the cowshed,
the paper sprawls across the kitchen table,
it says it's hot in California.
a bony sister cow gazes
from the front of the Irish Foreign Missions,
beside her a bony tribesman grins.
My father stares through the kitchen window.
The red heifer tried to get out today, he says,
better fence the gap in that hedge
or she'll be up the main road tomorrow.
Could she make it as far as the city, I wonder
to marvel at buses bigger than ricks of hay,
streets louder than the bull in Welsh's shed,
newsboys bellowing the Herald, the Press
while we search the fields by the road to Dublin,
peering into the deeper ditches,
my father already grieving the heifer,
as she halts, bedazzled, on O'Connell Bridge?
Published in The Blue Guitar (Salmon Poetry 2011), You've Been Great (Smith/Doorstop 2008) and Poetry Daily (Web, 2008)