Farm Summer

The Talk­ing Stick, 2017

horseThe day we mount­ed the horse–


a tall and haunchy female,

I clung to your waist,

my own pow­er­ful female,

as princess car­ried us

down the hill and into the pasture

to claim the cat­tle for milking.

She plunged into the shal­low creek

and sank her fine-spun legs

deep in mud. Deep

in mud. My heart flut­tered in fear

as the horse bucked and pulled.

Princess heaved her­self, and us, free,

and we gal­loped up the hill

call­ing Come boss,

come boss. The reins lain lightly

against the agile neck

turned the horse left and right

through bris­tled pines

and the cat­tle lowed and turned,

slow­ly as flow­ers clos­ing for the night,

lum­bered toward the barn

where my uncle would lean his head

against each hot haunch in turn

and pull the milk, froth­ing white,

into pail after pail.