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Little Cow

Little Cow

by Suzanne Verrall

The little cow in the farmyard nursery was kind of like a Shetland pony, only a cow. It wasn’t a calf and technically had no business being in the farmyard nursery with the ducklings and chicks and baby goats and lambs. But a miniature cow is something to see. There was a crowd around it, so I stood back and waited, wadding up fairy floss to fizz on my tongue. A bunch of kids were hanging off the enclosure fence, picking up handfuls of hay to tempt the little cow closer. It stepped forward and submitted to being patted and stroked. Somebody must have found a sweet spot because suddenly it mooed. A couple of kids jumped back and giggled. A man with a fistful of showbags said, “That cow sounds like a person trying to sound like a cow.” The little cow mooed again. The man was right. A person trying to sound like a cow. A pair of hipless teens with black eyeliner and green hair and their arms entwined laughed. And then everyone laughed. And the little cow mooed again and everyone laughed again. And a few people mooed, sounding more like cows than the little cow. Then an announcement came over the loudspeaker about the pig racing and everyone beelined for the arena. I wanted to go too but the little cow caught my eye and I suddenly felt sorry for laughing. “Don’t mind us,” I said. “Human beings, most of the time we really have no idea.” I scratched the little cow behind its ear. It was surprisingly soft and I ran my hand down the warm length of its neck. “Thank you,” the little cow said. “You’re very kind. I get so nervous in front of a crowd.” Then the little cow mooed, quietly, just for me. Like a cow.

Suzanne Verrall lives in Australia. She is the author of the poetry collection One Day I Will Go There (Vagabond Press, 2022). Her poetry, flash fiction and essays appear in various publications including Australian Poetry Journal, Southampton Review and The Interpreter’s House. For links to her work go here.

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