Nermana Česko 

Writers on Photographs


How Clean is the Cow?


HOW CLEAN IS THE COW? Taste its milk and you’ll know. My mum’s was stinky. It is hard to consume anything that comes from what hardly lives. Poor are the malnourished cows. Blame the owner. The more I refused to suckle, the more I was beaten, almost every day, by mum’s hoof, shoed in dried dung, and by strikes of the tail with the small, dark balls knotted in its hair. “Better anything than nothing” – she used to say. Blame the mother. When I was growing up, the food was either too dry or not boiled well; the remains of the owner’s lunch were just thrown under our legs. I wanted relief, to be happy and calm. I escaped our barn and went wandering in green fields. Sniffing flowers made me feel better. I was free. At least for a while. Soon I became dissatisfied. Horribly bored, I went back to the village to steal the hay and special food people made to fulfill the needs of my species. Blame those people. Green fields were replaced by dark streets where I found the rope and rolled myself in it. Blame me. I was found by a man who said, “You’re stuck in a gullet of death.” He gave me a bullet then to speed up my end. I refused his way. I refused mine—I did not want to die. He then told me the stories: he talked about beauty outside, showed me the pictures of the place I’m in now and of those places I could see if I climbed up, opened and escaped death’s jaws.