Table Fourteen: Joseph Suglia

Here come the cows, the cows are stampeding now down Clark Street, and a mob of humans is running away from them.

Like the vast branches of self-moving birch trees, like a mobile forest of bare birch trees that have uprooted themselves and are now shambling toward you and the other humans, ivory-white, upside-down arched horns weigh down the Ankole cattle as they march steadily, then run. These are not cattle with gigantic horns. These are gigantic horns propped atop of little cattle.

Jammed together, the black-and-white-striped heads of the Holstein cattle seem to compose a single multi-faced aggregate head. Checkered cows, their udders bloated with milk, the Dutch cows move in a herd, swerving toward from the human pack, the pack of humans.

A stampede of Texas Longhorns stampedes down the street, while against the balustrade twenty feet above, humans draw back their bowstrings and, lowering their bows and straightening their arrows, point their arrow-tips at the rushing herd.

This is not a good idea. It is not a good idea to kill the animals.

You see and hear a mooing tamarau with disproportionately large white horns running and running. On the back of the tamarau roosts a monkey-eating eagle, screeching its war cry.

A yak with astounding curved horns, a shaggy coat, and a bushy misplaited tail weaves through the automobile maze. It stops for a while and champs and chomps the grass that is sprouting from an artificial garden and looks at you through a haze of malaise.

Trotting past you now is a pair of cattle, trotting in a slow gait: a Belted Welsh and a Galloway. The Belted Welsh has what seems to be a white belt wrapped around its black body; the Galloway has a thick shaggy auburn coat. Both look at you sedately.

The cows are crashing into the Subway sandwich shop; they are crashing into the Pizza Hut. Chipotle’s is overrun with Watutsi cattle.

Shopping cart-pushing humans are rushing across Clark Street. They are rushing as if they were pursued by a bovine tsunami.

They rush over to where the herd of oxen is snuffing and inhaling oxygen. In the park, by the fountain.

The water buffalo are coming—they are one hundred and twenty feet away, hulks of black flesh relaying disturbances.

Overtaken by the rampaging, stampeding herd of water buffalo, the humans withdraw into abandoned hair salons, banks, and telephone stores. From where you are walking, the city seems absent of human life and full of bovine life.

Into the purgatory of the city, with all of its obsessively winding sidestreets, goes the mob of humans. But there is no place in the city without animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals and animals.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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