Farrier
We name the animals and then we name their belonging, 
for sometimes an animal is more itself when it is with its kind. 
So, there is a fall of woodcock, but there is an ascension
of lark; sometimes, when the numbers are many, an exultation. 
These are not mere flocks but charms of hummingbird, 
charm of finch, dule or clutch of dove. It is a mutation of thrush, 
a murmuration of starling, a descent of woodpecker
a richness of martens. Of stork, it is a mustering, and while 
similar, equally crane-like, it is a siege of herons.
It was their lost son I saw before I walked into the barn. 
He was nodding into his chest atop his crop. The water
rippled and sometimes he’d step over, still, and shoot his
beak beneath. Perhaps there was a bed of clams through 
that cloud of gnats. But then he’d perch again with nothing 
and I wondered if he was going to make it back to his nest.
            
And then to see him jump                    and float           and rise. 
 
I could be that feather loosed as the heron skirts the surface
over the badling and the bale. The very action, offshoot, 
outcast, seed of abandon. I could be that footprint in the mud, 
stepping tenderly out, amphibious its palimpsest, and gone.
Or I could be this farrier who holds a horse by the hoof
and tends the trim for pay. I could be the one tonguing 
metal into fire until the iron whistles red and blues 
beneath the hammer’s bruise. Each imperfection rings: 
“What is not our image shall have no dominion here.” 
Heat bends, water cools, my violence walks the beam. 
This is what I know: each shape more true than my design. 
So, I am gentle with the beast. Even the drift of hog, the trip
of goat. But the work will not be done until I touch the filly’s flank 
and send her bare, but for those shoes, back to her remuda. 
Then I’ll shut the light and hope they take her in again and run.
Copyright © 2004–2014 Memorious