Calves (Abigail Raley)

I imagine often I could be happy

every day. I could write to you and

lick the backs of postage stamps and

thank my lucky stars for many things

like electricity, power, heat, 

strawberries, summertime in a pasture

on the face of the world, sweet

little walks through the center of the road

when the deer are chewing on the neighbors’ 

lawns, but mostly my charitable ankles, 

which I have heard

are perfect, as they are not cankles

which is, in fact, a sign of someone that

should be less than happy, due to the 

aforementioned condition of the ankles, 

the c representing the calf, which, doubled

would make two cankles, that is, two shins

melting, collapsing, even, into the foot

or, rather, feet. Wait, how many feet?

Two feet? On two calves? No, four feet,

that is, rather, four feet

on four legs on two calves 

(eight feet/eight legs) trudging in

from where? The pasture? Eating strawberries?

No, those were the deer. No, the deer were

eating the lawns. I was eating strawberries

in a pasture alone. No, I was with you.

I was with you, in the pasture, eating strawberries

and you bit in, and juice dribbled down your chin

and I kissed it off. I was kissing you 

and it was summer and we were calves

without constellation under our only heaven

and you turned to me and said, first,

I have never loved you and I never will.


Abigail Raley (she/they) is a writer from Kentucky. She is currently an MFA poetry candidate at the University of Montana. 


image: Ashley Beresch. Check out more of her work on Instagram @ashleyberesch