How Could I Not?

Note: On Aug. 19, award-winning local author James Rada Jr. led a writing workshop inspired by the objects from the exhibition Treasures of State: Maryland’s Art Collection. The workshop was funded by Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area. Click on the links to read examples of writing that came from that workshop.

By Emma Cote

Cicadas sing amongst the grass,
and amongst the branches swaying above my head.

I step carefully,
trying not to crush them under my hoofs.

My baby stays close to my side,
chewing idly at her patch of grass and yellow blooms,
leaning against me under the hot sun.

She relies on me to swat flies away,
when her own thin tail is deemed no threat to the insects.
To point out where to eat,
and where to avoid nettles and nestling bees.

The day is hot, and the air is heavy.
I nudge her along towards the water.

She is uncertain of her feet beneath her,
amongst rocks and soft mud,
but I am insistent.

She must cool, and she must drink.

Stay close to me,
I urge her.
I will not take you deep,
or where you may stumble.

There may come a day where you no longer need me,
to guide your steps and your graze,
or to shade you from the late afternoon sun.

You may not need me to care for you tomorrow,
But today you do,
so I will.

How could I not?