Cold as Hell

by Daniel E. Wilcox

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We stood in the sub zero
Montana ranch pasture,
Below the gauntlet of a gray sky.

Five cow hands leaning forward,
Our boots deep in the brown
Stubble and crusted snow.

We stepped closer, crunching
Ice, but mute, breathing
Fog, our hands still and numb,

To watch the rancher, red-eared
And bloody-fingered, oblivious
To the minus degrees,

Almost crouching in the ruddy snow
Tugging from the center of a bloated cow:
A panting half-born calf,

Thrashing, undelivered.
The brown mother bellowed
But all I remember—the cold.

Previously published in The Externalist

Daniel Wilcox earned his degree in Creative Writing from Cal State University, Long Beach. He is a former activist, teacher, and wanderer—from Montana to the Middle East, leaving a vapor trail of poetic debris in The Tipton Poetry Journal, Crossing Rivers Into Twilight, Lunarosity, The Recusant, Oak Bend Review, etc.  Poems will soon be published in Moria , and Word Riot. A short story “The Faces of Stone,” based on his time in the Middle East was published in The Danforth Review. Currently, Daniel is finishing a novel and a poetry collection. He lives on the central coast of California with his mysterious wife and youngest son. Website: Seaquaker

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