Even before the crack of dawn
by Herbert Nehrlich
I would be in the barn, yawning
but ready to do the essentials.
Susie, the Jersey, cantankerous,
tough, tail-happy and accurate,
but supplier of rich life-giving milk.
On that Sunday, the 4th of July,1976,
the fateful day for my very own
bicentennial baby, due soon,
I was in lone command of the barn.
It wouldn't be long now, she had,
experienced giver of new life,
pronounced herself 'over-proof'.
Waiting upstairs, lounging in bed.
Hurrying now, one bucket aside,
one more to milk with hasty fingers,
and perhaps there was time for
a leisurely, but brief brekkie in bed.
Murphy's law, with impeccable timing,
allows a very good sized rat, gray,
to fall into and start swimming in
panic, hoping, praying the rat's prayer.
No time today for this foolishness,
dammit, no TIME, well let me see.
Quickly, ungentlemanly, gingerly,
fishing out is what I do, now,
saving lives is always on, or is it?
Pathetic he looks, white beard,
not unlike a wet rag of evil spirit,
thief of the night, respecter of nothing,
with a brain to match my instinct.
Off he hobbles, unhurried, unafraid,
now that he has seen a miracle,
performed for his soul, dark as it is.
Mocking me now, the grain bin,
it's on the way, after all, one mouthful,
and freedom beckons from the hayloft.
No one is watching, not a soul, human or
anything else capable of laughter and
indignation, the earthenware bowl is huge,
all the rest of Susie's gift will be awaiting
those who need it. After all, it is Sunday.
The fourth of July. What's a little bit of
human kindness on a day like this?