by Jane Hirshfield
There are times I feel myself cow stripped of her leather.
The hide going on without me,
flensed, vat-dipped, beaten to pliable smoothness.
What remains — awkward, vaguely aware
that something is missing, but what? — continues
its looking outward, evenly breathes.
Sunlight, wind, the black, inquiring noses of others:
sharp now as the knife.
Muscled unjacketed egg.
Impossible butcher's diagram walking. Beginning to graze.