Rays of sun touch the pasture, caressing it. Oranges and yellows patter up and around the house, searching for shadows of night to cheer. They find the sleeping baby and fix him with a smile. They glint across the mirror, towards the woman. Unable to reach the heart, they catch the face. Slowly, eyelids open. She smiles as bad dreams fade. Still half asleep, she sees her husband's slippers by the door.
On the wall hangs a photo. Not six months old. The only family picture in the home. Next to it another photo, larger. Her husband with his favorite cow. They named the baby after that cow. There are some paintings of goats. Ugly, all of them.
Eyes close. Breathe.
The animals outside begin to wake. A peaceful lowing as they begin a search for food. Somber chatter as the farmhands set to their work.
Then, as the new habit, she begins to sob. The baby wakes and only the sheep continue to talk.
The shotgun askew in the corner. Six times she'd picked it up. Her finger danced the trigger with the same finesse of her fiddling before sticking it directly to the skull. Today it would stay in the corner, not forgotten, just waiting. She knows she cannot.
Through the window she sees the cow. She screams at it, returned only with a face unashamed. Docile eyes. She turns away with another round of wails. Another glance at the gun. The cluck of the hens coaxes her to pick up the baby instead. She wonders again. Again, if animals can know guilt.
Outside, the cow's hoof chips the gravestone, petals from yesterday's flowers falling from its mouth.