The Heifers by Jennifer Macbain-Stephens

The Heifers

They grunt and bellow in tiny Matilda’s barn, swinging their tails at flies, sometimes slapping my waist. Sometimes a hind leg situates itself and trips me and I fall into the manure, the dust. How tragic! One of the heifers bares its side teeth at me. Two heifers giggle a robust giggle as I roll up my pants, dab at my scraped shin. The heifers rise up and begin a two-step on their back two legs and they shove me against the wall. The hooves make such a clatter. The heifers are such lying liars. I didn’t know they were going to dance. I see hoof marks on the ceiling and I wonder how they got there. It was a tight space to begin with and now I don’t know how to get out. The heifers are drunk with power. I bang on the rectangular plexiglass window, try to lift the brass latch. I shout into the heavy walls as backs and fronts and snouts push into my torso. One heifer tongues my neck. I hear the distant tune of “Old MacDonald.” I am slick with sweat and grime. One heifer takes me by the arms and spreads them wide, assesses my worth. She begins a waltz. This is only the prologue, the heifer whispers into my ear. I smell her grass-fed breath, see a fly on her nostril. The heifer eyes my back side, looking for a slot to insert the tail.




Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in the DC area. She is the author of eight chapbooks and two full length collections forthcoming from Yellow Chair Review and Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbook “Clown Machine” recently came out from Grey Book Press. Recent work can be seen or is forthcoming at Jet Fuel Review, Lime Hawk, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Poor Claudia, concis, and decomP. Visit


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