Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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315 words
SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

The Cow

by Christopher Woods

I will tell you about the cow, but first, I must tell you about the view from my window. This particular, and most favored, window is next to my desk. Here, I sometimes write, or work on photographs. Work gets done, or not. Sometimes I am dragged into other endeavors. But I do spend a good amount of time at my desk, looking out this window.

It is rare that any people come into my view. I live on a narrow country road outside Chappell Hill, Texas. It is a town of 350 people. There is no traffic. Sometimes, a neighbor passes. Or a man on a tractor, going to one place or another.

And, very rarely, a cow. But it did happen one evening while I was sitting at my desk. The sun was setting on the other side of the house. That is when the cow appeared. A mama cow, she was missing her calf. She was distraught. She came right up to the favored window and looked inside. She looked at me imploringly, as I recall. Did I know the whereabouts of her calf? I did not. It was a terribly haunting situation.

Later, I learned from a neighbor that the mama cow had left her newborn calf in high grass for protection. Sadly, that same day the mowers arrived to cut down the high grass. The calf, well hidden, had no chance against the mowers. And so the mother wandered, breaking through a barbed-wire fence, to find her calf. She kept looking and looking. She would not give up. That is when she appeared in my window. As darkness loomed, she wandered on, continuing her search.

So no, I do not often see people through this window. Instead, I watch for the other creatures who live in the country. I await their dramas. Sometimes, I tell them about mine.

SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

Christopher Woods

is a writer, teacher, and photographer who lives in Texas. He has three books in print: a novel, The Dream Patch; a prose collection, Under a Riverbed Sky; and a book of stage monologues for actors, Heart Speak. His work appears in Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, Volume II, a collection of twenty stories set in twenty countries by twenty authors (Press 53, September 2016). His fiction also appears in periodicals such as Stone Voices, The Southern Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, and Glimmer Train.

His photographs have appeared in many journals, with photo essays published in Glasgow Review, Public Republic, Deep South, Shadowgraph, and Narrative magazine, among others.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury