She waits for him by the horses.
Long muzzles jet their steamy breath
and from the first rung of fence
she extends her arm.
They ignore her. She never could
prick the equine ear, her throat
unable to click like her cousin’s.
The smooth barrels of their bodies
remain out of reach and she looks
at a glossy bulb of brown eye.
Will they see him before she does?
They interrupt the stillness –
flicking their matted manes
over shuddering backs and then he comes
stumbling into sight; all coat and bluster
and red cheek. She pushes back
his hood, kisses him, his mouth opening.
They stay close to each other’s
lips, while he curses his tardy self
and she shushes him, feels the rain’s
erratic start. Where shall we go?
But neither moves. They stay at the edge
of the field: this girl, her lover, four horses
and a sheet of greying sky.
in the abandoning –
laces fastened to barbed spikes,
hung against a scene
of tall grasses. No clue
as to which way he ran,
the shoeless child,
wayfarer in green-stained socks,
passing from field to street
who steps into a kitchen
as his mother clutches towels,
waiting for her to scold, or notice.
You are learning that small pleasure:
to scoop corn with your fingers,
value its silky trickle through a palm.
The birds fuss around your ankles
until you scatter gold pips,
making them scrabble at the earth.
One strays, you lift it, the fowl easy
in your grasp. Your chin rests on its wing
as you whisper into feathers:
a child’s confessions to a hen.
Inside the hutch, you collect
what you were sent for. Eggs held
as if they trembled, lowered
into a Tupperware of straw.
Your father stands in the kitchen,
butter softening in the pan,
as you thumb the latch, make your
careful exit from the coop.