The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Food for thought

Rachael Conlin Levy

I write like a cow chewing its cud.

I type a sentence and study the words.

The cursor swallows them.

I regurgitate the sentence, but because it’s been partially digested, the words come out mushier, modified.

I turn over these words, nibble on them.

My fingers touch more keys and another sentence appears.

Once I climbed a hill to look at a cow with a window that offered a view into its stomach.

A scientist opened the window, reached in and pulled out the cud to show it to me.

He explained what he was doing, and why he was doing it.

But I don’t remember those details now.

Only the dripping tangle of grass.

And its sweetly soured smell.

What would my sentences look like if there was a window into my brain?

Would the words, fermenting in bacterial brain juice, also stink?


Were I a ruminant.

5 responses to “Food for thought”

  1. Beth says:

    Your sentences are well worth the wait… and I can completely empathize with your writing process. The Inner World of Farm Animals by Amy Hatkoff, honors the sweet cow. The book writes of their intelligence, their strong bond to their calves, as well as the close friendships they form with other cows and animals.
    The digestive system diagram is great. And oh…stinking brain juice? Do you think it really stinks? Now I’m curious. 😉

  2. kyndale says:

    I went on a field trip to a dairy and they had a fistulated cow. They let anyone who wanted to put there hand into the cow’s stomach to feel it churn. I didn’t want to but I kind of regret it now! xo

  3. Rachael says:

    Beth, thank you for the kind words and the book referral. I’m going to track down Hatkoff’s book.

    Kyndale, thanks for giving my cow with a window its proper name. Fistulated — dates back to 1833 — so interesting! More on the science, here:

  4. Your words would smell like warm chocolate chip cookies.

  5. Rachael says:

    Denise, you are too sweet, but I gobble up the compliment, anyhow.

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