She shows me on her own long torso:
how the metal plugs latch on,
a little roughly, but not so sudden
as to frighten the cow and stop the milk.
The apparatus needn’t be beloved, it’s unequivocal,
the sucking’s rhythmic, mechanical.
This is how it’s really done
on distant farms, in agricultural zones.
A novel taught me
how to make an udder flow:
form an okay sign with finger and thumb,
collapse the o’s soft rim, trapping
the teat and pulling, as on a bell-pull
or school-girl’s pigtail. But you must be
on your knees, you must be no
machine, you must be close to straw
“Cybele” first appeared in TriQuarterly (issue 119).