Home > Poetry > How Now Kowtow?
Frank Eannarino
Published: Fri Jul 1 2005
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
How Now Kowtow?

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
the cow kicked over a lantern in the barn

then leaped over the moon and butted Biela’s comet
which cracked into flaming chunks careening

to earth setting wooden Chicago and rural parts
of Michigan and Wisconsin on fire in 1871.

Recently a woman struck a cow with her car
and it fell through the windshield and while kicking

itself free from the wreckage the heifer
hoofed the poor woman to death. Cows are

tangentially dangerous, rarely the root of evil.
When met in a field they’re easily cowed, hence

the word “cower,” but the bovine is sinister
in its own way, the plotting silence behind

deep brown eyes, the ruminating ruminant,
but can you ever trust a beast with two stomachs?

Can you account for your cow’s whereabouts
on October 17th, Mrs. O’Leary? Biela,

does your witless comet have an alibi? Witnesses
reported blue streaks in the sky, methane ignited,

blue flames in the alley, an unidentified Caucasian male
holding a lit candle to the cow’s ass

behind the Cathedral, miles away from O’Leary’s farm.
In ‘69, Buzz Aldren discovered a pile of manure, broken

shards of glass and an empty can of kerosene
in the Sea of Tranquility. Crime-scene moon dusted

by a forensics team for cloven hoof prints. Chalk-lines
etched around fresh milk splatter.

A deep-throated brass bell interrogated
for hours at the precinct under one hot bulb.

Coerced confessions recanted. An astronaut’s helmet
found hidden in the hayloft, caked in cud.

Frank Eannarino holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has appeared in_ Denver Quarterly_, Exquisite Corpse (www.corpse.org), American Literary ReviewNorth American Review, and elsewhere. He teaches at Triton College and Morton College in the Chicago area. (updated 2/2005)

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