Lament

Finally someone just drops it and breaks it
like a mercy killing, the cow butter dish,
it cracks easily into five pieces,
opening like an earthenware flower on the floor:
a crescent of furrowed terracotta, a
dry cold bisque side, a
rogue shard, the cow herself broken
free, upside-down, hollow-muscular inner curves of her body,
slim elliptical hole of her throat leading
into the darkness inside her head.
Long, drawn-out ending of my motherhood,
these kids I see less and less —
better to smash some china like the end of a
love-affair. I take her in my hand,
convex flanks fitting my palm,
thumb and forefinger holding her neck at the
carotids, kiss her mild
dumb forehead, look into her empty
shape smooth and chambered as a woman’s sex,
the way God might have sat on the bank
first shaping the clay.
Even on the hottest day if you
soaked her in cold water in the morning and
set her on the dish she would keep the butter
cool till night in the dark of her body,
fresh, and soft.