Journal of Writing & Environment

McArthur Dairy Farms, Okeechobee County, FL


They have taken them from their mothers.

They have brought them wet

with afterbirth, past bedtime,

in the rusty bed

of a pickup truck.

Thirteen newborn boy calves,

a muddy pit, a small caliber pistol.


In the clover valley where

their mothers grazed months before,

a dirge plays, whistles among the ryegrass over the hill,

boxelders lining the fence in the distance.


Their beautiful ghosts will search

for their mothers here,

finally drink the warm milk

meant for them.