One slow, black horse
alone in a snowy pasture.

It’s almost daybreak
and the smoke from last
night’s close banked fires
still moves among icy branches
of elms and silver maples.

Well, it’s better than days
of rain, though
it’s just November,
not even Thanksgiving.

All this novelty
of snow stacked twigs
and icy pilings in the river shallows,
creaky early morning steps,
dragon‑cloudy breath,
helps us harden our selves
for winter.

We know before long
the smog won’t clear by noon,
won’t clear for weeks,
know months from now,
all hunched and bent,
we’ll still be trudging
into black and white
windbeaten silence.

Thick coat ruffled,
head to snow,
that same black mare
will pace her pasture,
while the road crew piles up
crud on every fencepost —

the gray snow,
the carbon,
the soot.

 

Hear it:

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