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Feeding Horses in Winter

The prefix of barn light in the mass of blowing snow dragging through the air, the yard lit for ten feet by the dim green-yellow field of the mercury lamp, the face of the lamp backing away from the eye.

And the horses in knots in the field, the field lit by the gray-white yellow light of powdered snow.

Breaking ice in the trough with a broom, the sound eaten, the ice skim wrinkling the surface of the water, and early dark sifting down along the tin ribs of roof.

Flakes of hay torn off in the gloves, steam breaking from the center of the bale, something like a voice crushed in the flat air, and the steady shock of the underbelly light of snow clouds.

And black-brown footfalls in the frail edges of light where one horse is in lean static flight, slipping out into the rim of the mercury lamp cast, hairs of frost at the nostril and the light greening in the stiff tufts at the crown of the head.

The scrim of ice bitten by the hoof, the horse breaking open into itself, as if two horses beat into the mute line of air – one sinking into the forced step of tree limbs, tangling in the fence static,

one breaking across the coarse-grained snow light with the slow gather of thought.

Posted 01/15/12
Published in Shenandoah (Fall 2009)
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