Dana Guthrie Martin

Three Days in Austin

Austin is where I spent a long weekend listening
to Darrin go on about how to have sex with a cow.
You can tip them over when you’re done, he said.
Tip them and walk away. He also had a tree
he rubbed himself on, and a couch cushion
he screwed through a deep, roundish hole.
I keep it turned face-down for visitors.
That was Friday. Saturday, I drank and lay
with my head on his crotch, my body brittle
as a matchstick on the hotel’s king-sized bed.
My life could have worn a vacancy sign then,
as I confessed to everything I had never done—
nothing man-made, no fauna, no flora that rose
from the earth with a shape that summoned.
Sunday, we went our own ways. He drove lazily
east to the family farm he would inherit one day.
I headed north to Kansas City. With every cow
I passed, I thought of her dark secret, nights
in the fields, the boys and men who entered her
for sport, because they were horny and had nothing
better. I watched each cow’s vacant stare, the way
she ruminated, her stance, her gait, how she lowered
her body onto grass or dirt, and I knew, knew too well.


Dana Guthrie Martin lives in Kansas City with her husband, Jon, and their beloved Chihuahua, Cricket “Miss B” Hayden. Her work appears in Barrow Street, Boxcar Poetry Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, and Vinyl Poetry. Her chapbooks include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012), and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). She is the founding editor of Cascadia Review, an online poetry journal dedicated to showcasing the work of poets in the Cascadia bioregion. Earlier this year, Martin was diagnosed with primary immunodeficiency. She thanks all blood and plasma donors for their life-saving donations to those in need. She blogs about poetry, health, and other topics on her site.