We name the animals and then we name their belonging, 
for sometimes an animal is more itself when it is with its kind. 
So, there is a fall of woodcock, but there is an ascension
of lark; sometimes, when the numbers are many, an exultation. 
These are not mere flocks but charms of hummingbird, 
charm of finch, dule or clutch of dove. It is a mutation of thrush, 
a murmuration of starling, a descent of woodpecker
a richness of martens. Of stork, it is a mustering, and while 
similar, equally crane-like, it is a siege of herons.
It was their lost son I saw before I walked into the barn. 
He was nodding into his chest atop his crop. The water
rippled and sometimes he’d step over, still, and shoot his
beak beneath. Perhaps there was a bed of clams through 
that cloud of gnats. But then he’d perch again with nothing 
and I wondered if he was going to make it back to his nest.
And then to see him jump                    and float           and rise. 
I could be that feather loosed as the heron skirts the surface
over the badling and the bale. The very action, offshoot, 
outcast, seed of abandon. I could be that footprint in the mud, 
stepping tenderly out, amphibious its palimpsest, and gone.
Or I could be this farrier who holds a horse by the hoof
and tends the trim for pay. I could be the one tonguing 
metal into fire until the iron whistles red and blues 
beneath the hammer’s bruise. Each imperfection rings: 
“What is not our image shall have no dominion here.” 
Heat bends, water cools, my violence walks the beam. 
This is what I know: each shape more true than my design. 
So, I am gentle with the beast. Even the drift of hog, the trip
of goat. But the work will not be done until I touch the filly’s flank 
and send her bare, but for those shoes, back to her remuda. 
Then I’ll shut the light and hope they take her in again and run.
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