Filling Horse Nets In Winter / New Poem (Rough First Draft)

Filling Horse Nets In Winter


We climb the long, steep track, to the small

stone farmhouse, dug into the rugged hillside.

Our short, young legs burn from the effort.


I tug my wax coat tighter, duck my nose

beneath the collar, until the smell of damp

becomes too much, and I need air again.


The ice ball I’d taken to the face at lunch

melted on my hot skin, dripped down,

soaked my coat’s inner lining right through.


We talk loudly, to keep the ghosts at bay, our

eyes dart across darkening, frost furrowed fields.


The wind chime in the empty barn trills as we

approach. I touch my wobbly bottom tooth.


Pain overtakes fear, and my desire to sprint

across the farm yard to the soft candle light,

flickering in the front porch.


The darkness is complete.

There will be no riding today.


My gloves aren’t thick enough, and my

fingers hurt as I pull hay from bales,

fill nets until they’re fat and heavy.


We work quickly, under fizzing stable lights.

The horses, settled for the night, watch and wait.


Inside, I press my body against the old, white Aga.

We make hot chocolate thick, dark and sweet.

At the bottom of our mugs, the chocolate we

missed with spoons sits, layered like tar.


We marvel at the ostrich egg in the middle

of the dining room table, then run up and down

the back stairs where there’s no lights.


I think about the girls that used them the day

after the last stone for this house was set.

They’ve been dead a long time.


We climb onto the deep set windowsill,

press our faces against glass generations

old, looking for the first snow, for the headlight’s

of my mother’s car.