Cow No. 7

by Kristine Ong Muslim (Prose Poetry)

(This piece is from the out-of-print book, We Bury the Landscape: An Exhibition-Collection, published by Queen’s Ferry Press in 2012.) 

after Wendy Derick Worsham’s Cow Number 7 Wandered Off Again

False walls keep the landscape replete with color-saturated rural scenery. This serene green a premonition: something is about to go wrong. Cow No. 7, the mutant one irradiated since birth with small doses of gamma rays, has just found a way to jump the electric fence. And there it is, wiggling its ears, pretending to be normal to gain acceptance from the other grazing cows. It acts dumb to be one of them: no eye contact, no attempts at communication except for the typical low-pitched moo, no bad-mouthing the fattest ones, the ones that are first to be butchered. We admire its determination to fit in and lead a normal cow’s life. It may not have been too much to ask. Cow No. 7 even resisted the urge to tell us to go to hell when it was about to be collared and taken back to the institute.