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.