“Before Breakfast” by David Feela

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All night the cows next door bellowed. By dawn I opened the bedroom window and called to the nearest cow. “What’s all the bellowing about?” I asked. “You should ask?” the cow replied, “You who sleep all night in a comfortable bed while we stand in the field?” “That’s not an answer, and besides, it’s only Orwellian cynicism about the human condition” I said. “Have you no depth, no inner cow resources to plumb so as to describe what’s innately wrong?” I didn’t want to sound overly philosophical, but I hadn’t slept well and the opportunity to talk with a talking cow was unprecedented. I decided on another approach.  “Maybe it’s health, one of your stomachs is upset from ingesting too much fiber” I proposed. The cow stared at me with disdain, as if I’d just made a tasteless joke about hamburgers. “Don’t look at me like that” I said. “An upset stomach is the cause of much discomfort among our kind. Your kind has twice as much risk for suffering with a condition that’s easily treatable.” The cow continued to stare. I knew I’d gone too far, that this cow had nothing else to say to me, that never again would I be taken seriously by any cow,
that I might not even be taken seriously by my neighbors once word got out about me talking to cows. “Moo” I shouted and slammed the window closed. I had more important things to do than try to understand cows, and all this before a bowl of cereal.

 

 

David Feela, a retired teacher, is a poet, free-lance writer, and workshop instructor. His writing has appeared in hundreds of regional and national publications since 1974, including High Country News, Mountain Gazette, Denver Post, Utne Reader, Yankee, Third Wednesday, and Pennsylvania Review, as well as in over a dozen anthologies. For eleven years he served as a contributing editor and columnist for the recently deceased Inside/Outside Southwest.  Currently, he writes a monthly column for the Four Corners Free Press. A chapbook of poetry, Thought Experiments (Maverick Press), won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry collection, The Home Atlas (WordTech Editions, 2009), is currently available through the publisher and online.

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