Patrick Bradley

When a new cow is born, it is taken away from its mother.
This keeps the bulls from getting jealous of the calf, but it causes distress to the mother.
I would often hear heifers calling to their calves in the middle of the night,
their shallow pleas cutting through the fog, echoing off of the silos and pole sheds.

The guy in room 107 would call his mom every night at 7 p.m.
I know this because I was his neighbor and heard every conversation.
They discussed the weather, how the hot Tuscon sun had faded
her hazelnut or dusty blonde or burnt red hair, depending on what week it was.
She told him about the new man in her life,
a truck driver from Phoenix who enjoys classic rock and tator-tot hotdish,
the plumber who fixed her leaky toilet, who once played golf with the mayor,
the cop who let her off with a warning, who then took her out to Fuzzy’s for the Friday night special.
The trip to the grocery store was often highlighted in their conversations,
the butcher who gave her a discount on the roast beef, lean cut,
how the price of milk was so low and that pears were now in season,
the cute cashier she made small talk with who would be perfect for him.
He reminds her that he is roughly 11 hours and 43 minutes away from home right now,
and grabbing drinks after work might be a little tricky.

This is where I turn on the TV, drowning out the pleas.