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Those Calves - Peter Malakoff

for the Tuna 

Those Calves

Those calves


those sweet swellings


I shyly followed in my adolescence


The most bounteous showing of forbidden flesh


the girls of my dreams


I followed them to school


meditating, contemplating,


merging my whole being with their breadth




worlds of recognition appeared and taught me


and from calves alone


I saw deeply into the lives


into the ways


into the very character


of those elusive maidens

But I was young and didn't notice


so natural it seemed


and not at all rare


or wonderful


It was not until later


when my palms had poured over many calves


and my lips had pressed them softly



and my tongue had licked them sweetly


and I had known their silent rejoice


that I saw and understood


a Great Embrace  


  of ears and winds


   of lips and trees


   of voice and birds


   of eyes and stars



That each revealed all



That in any aspect of life


attention could pour so completely


that laws and lessons would appear



I understood the stars and planets


never caused a single thing


but were observed to be


  'just so'


when certain theatre would occur


    and futures were proclaimed





I followed fox tracks with an African shaman


down to the river

I read tortoise shells

and yarrow stalks


with the old Chinese emperors



I stood with Odysseus


and watched an eagle


wheeling across the sky

I felt an evening fall with malevolence


I awoke a morning of good fortune



And that day


I don't know how this happened


 But I can tell you it is true



I was going down to the river


    watching birds turn in the sky


reading tea leaves and tortoise shells




    I saw you


     a long way off


       with your shy calves


           and your dress lifted


         like a veil


          over our future

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