Rosy’s baby is chestnut-colored and bow-legged. She wears spots like scars. There’s a splotch in the center of her forehead like, in another life, she was shot dead. There’s one on the soft part of her neck like, maybe once upon a time, something took a bite of her. There are some at the bottom of her skinny legs like, perhaps, she crawled out of the Earth while something tried to pull her back in. Rosy’s baby can’t moo, so her mama has become acquainted with the sound of her baby’s hooves on dirt, their lack of pace, of pattern, like a heart that murmurs. Last night it stormed, a tornado on the horizon, and all of the animals took cover in the barn. The pigs pressed their rubbery bodies against the dogs’ sides, against the feathers of the chickens who watched with small, dumb eyes the thick, heavy hooves of the cows. There were Lucy’s hooves and Ramoona’s hooves and Rosy’s hooves to keep an eye on. Lucy and Ramoona chewed slowly, loudly, like machines. They might as well have been. Rosy did not eat and she stood sideways at the entrance of the barn with her good eye pointed towards the center of the pasture, the half of her that stuck out from beneath the structure soaked with rain and the other half bone-dry. She watched, while, out there, in the center of the storm, her baby danced to the flash of lightning. Rosy’s baby bounded on her bowed legs, kicked them high in the air, and flung mud against a backdrop of space pierced by unbridled electricity. Rosy’s baby could not moo, but she huffed and she danced, and the way her hooves sounded against the mud, the way they hit the Earth, again and again and again with no rhythm at all, sounded not so much like rebellion but like an embrace. Sounded like laughter by the face of fear, and not in a way that says I’m better than you but one that says let’s be friends, like you can be scary and I can be scared and isn’t that exhilarating, like the only way to survive life on this Earth is to love the pain of it, like being alive is either masochism or suffering and I refuse to cry, so while the rest of the animals hid Rosy’s baby danced and Rosy herself stood with one half drenched by the rain and the other completely dry like she hadn’t yet decided if she wanted to live or if she wanted to hide.
Enchi is a student living and writing in Baltimore. She dreams of moving somewhere warm with a cat or a dog and spending her days writing and lying in the sun.
“The Pasture” was a finalist in our 2023 Blurred Genre Flash Contest, judged by Rachel Howard.