~ By Maria Lisa Eastman
Once I heard a man claim a crazy thing
Standing up in front of his slide
Mainly addressing a scholarly audience,
he said without a doubt
and at a significance level of point oh five
he had proven that cows didn’t need to drink clean water.
He told us that it turns out thirsty cattle
trailing over clay-cracked earth
towards a glint of moisture in the distance
might just as well turn down a ochre road
and sink their burning noses into stone-colored water whose surface
is wreathed in bitter oil and slicked-up mud.
Amazed, I asked him if he had ever
plunged his own dry mouth
down into a lively stream
so he could suck the blue water into his belly
had he felt how it softened his hard salt skin
and when he surfaced
heart fluttering, and awash
hadn’t he felt his scorched soul come back to life?
I don’t think a cow is any different
From a fish
Or an eagle, a willow or an ash.
A cedar, a lamb, a spider or a swan
Not too different from us either.
Because what we all need is basically the same-