still dripping acid
we rolled in from the coast
to Work on the Land

town was one street
and not one car on it

our little calplates beetle
drew quite a few out of what
looked like empty buildings

one by one
circling around looking
it and us up and down
shaking their heads

not too long after
there came another car
goin real slow

full of girls

then another

the first car of guys
we got the hell outta there

the stilldark dawn
shotgun in big mike’s truck
kansas radio stations
loud with love of the lord
evils of evolution communism
and foreign cars

thousand mph on our way
to feed a thousand cows
penned out somewhere
in the middle of nowhere
who weren’t when we got there
who’d busted out in the night
but with nowhere really to run
hadn’t run far and were all just
scattered lazily grazing all around

mike started cussin so hard
thought he was gonna bust
wrestling rails back into place
stomping across to the gate
heaving it open lifting me up
planting me deep as he could
into the dirt road screaming

nothing did
was like even the sun
was afraid to come up
on his cowboy whoops
herdin’n honkin’n gunnin
gettin louder and louder
my feet felt the road shake under me
as he finally rodeoed into view
hot on a thousand tails
all thundering right at me

trying to decide
if I was more terrified
of being stampeded into dust
or killed by mike if I moved
froze me long as it could
til about to leap for my life
the cows’ eyes went wide white
when they saw me in the road and
turned in terror back through the gate
followed by all the rest behind

was then I knew mike knew
a thing or two about fear

and who still hoppin mad
slammed his truck door shut
slammed the pen gate shut
bent down and picked up
the biggest rock he could
and slammed it straight
between the eyes
of the last cow in

the sound of bone
spintering in the silence
as she collapsed to the ground
kept me quiet with him after that

hourafterhour dayafterday
rowafterrow mileaftermile
trying to plow the entire earth
suffocating in the openness

til one day the whole sky
spun black and spit a twister
we barely outraced
as it chased us all the way back
to the underground stormshelter
we were suddenly glad
to have been given to live in

the next night
we broke loose like the cows
drove twentyeighthours straight
ran and dove into the ocean
as if it’d somehow wash away
all the dust dirt and memories
of what we’d found
goes on on land