The birthing tent was my favorite.
We’d be right with the crowd, pouring in
to the white flapping doors to find the
best spot on the metal bleachers. In
the middle, a cleared patch of hay and
a small aisle, so the three farmers
could lead in the expectant mother.
The width of her middle exceeding
her hip bones, spanning longer than my
father’s wing-span. And to see her round
body moving from the oncoming
calf, the bumping legs, the snout, calf and
mother struggling together. There
was something alarming about it
all. Even after my own mother
had told me about my birth and said
that one day I should do the same. It
was a rush, she claimed, to reproduce,
to test the birthing hips. It’s said that
the child goes through more pain than the
mother. Bruising, skull morphing pain.
We would watch entranced, crowd leaning in,
elbows on knees, as the announcer
would narrate, “The hooves are coming!” “Don’t
leave yet!” “You’ll have to see how fast she’ll
stand!” And then the calf, silky with warm
amniotic fluid, approached by
mother and farmers to clear the nose,
to lick the head. The crowd cheering, as
if they hadn’t known what could have come.
Lisa Folkmire is a poet from Warren, Michigan. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts where she studied poetry. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Atlas & Alice, Glass, Gravel, and Timber. She is also a reader for The Masters Review.