The Honest Work Of Minding Creatures by Tami Boehle-Satterfield


Minding creatures keeps me honest.
Some days,
I’d like to steal the time of mucking stalls,
Especially on cold, dark days.

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

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-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,
Hoarse, breathy sound
Drawing out into a long moan.
See-sawing like an old rocking chair.

But, before my 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
Myself again,
Illuminated in the yellowed barn light,
Shoveling and pitching
Remembered 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 baby-soft, warm snout.
I blindly finger her curious black lips, transliterating
Her whispered secrets

Wise beyond any language
I know.
I am the jack ass seeking pardon.
My devotion as self-reconciliation,
Stroking the long soft fur at her compliant breast.

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