“Honest Work” by Tami Boehle-Satterfield

artwork by Nancy Standlee

Minding creatures keeps me honest.
Though, some days,
I might do well to steal the time of mucking stalls.
Save it up for the cold, dark days
Of my own resistance.

Head burdened,
At first,
Bothered, like a stubborn ass.
Then, fleeced and gloved
I am slipping into boots.

Slipping out the door, winter wakes me
From my self-inflicted life.
My hyper-reality
To a deep, black sea of stars.

I breath in the sharp, steel-edged, blue night air.
Filtered of all my ideals,
Leaving me with just myself.

I am nothing more
Than everything before me.
The jangle of a rusted chain and clip,
The creak of a farm gate,
A mechanical wave, an oscillation of pressure

Stumbling in the dark.
I am a ghost in a clumsy, noisy machine
Almost drunk with desire,
Longingly pulled

To the deep,
Breathy sound
Drawing out into a long moan,
Then see-sawing, like an old rocking chair.

But, before large muscles group,
Pitching in,
The rhythm
Of shoveling soft, earthy, black turds,
And then pitching out mouth-fulls of sweet-smelling honey colored hay.

Before I become,
Illuminated in the yellowed, barn light,
Shoveling and pitching,
Remembering judgements.

I lean in, breathe in her dark, clay scent.
Feel the rough texture of coarse hair on sturdy, tall ears.
Steal a smooch of her warm, baby-soft muzzle.
I blindly finger her curious black lips, transliterating.
Her whispered secrets

Beyond any language.
I know
I am the jack ass, simple-minded and foolish
Besieged in all my impoverished constructs.

Asking forgiveness,
Pardon from this scholar I esteem to be,
A postulant in her deep pools of erudition.
Stroking the thick silken fur at her compliant jenny breast.
Beseeching the heart of this gentle mannered beast.

November 3, 2013

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