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Friday, July 30, 2010

Of country folk in august


Whenever we tackled the creekside shed
there was always something else to do
such times as we were stumped, or nails ran short,

or the sun looked round the fir and bleached us down
from raftering, roofing, or the like. We leaned,
gossip-like, against the cool framing's

naked shade, sipping solar tea,
watching some cloud's long tasseled skirt
chase the neighbors' horses leisurely

across their pasture, down the camas swale
and up the other side, against black backgrounds,
maple-shrouded hills. The horses liked

to amble to our corner, stand and watch.
We couldn't shake them of the shies, though,
try as we might with proffered handfuls

of our green grass, or blandishments, or clucks.
They'd check us out: first one black blink from behind
the forehead blaze, and then another,

cocking their long heads round to register
our self-assured, our predatory faces,
gazing on them, horse-flesh accountants

Surely. Their flanks would shiver, and their forefeet
stamp, scoring the earth in a language built
of weight. Some movement would always spook them off:

a silvery chisel hefted, or water bottle
sloshed, spattering sun. They'd hammer up
the swale; caressingly we'd watch them go,

coveting our neighbors' lands and all that lived
thereon, as country folk in August always do.

1995

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