November and I'm walking home after work--
shortcut through the paddocks
with a chill ground fog closing in around me,
animals huddled together stare dull eyes in a
dull light, mesmerized by their own breath.
The field is a vision of hoar-frost and
sculpture, necklaced with fences.
Air so still I hardly notice them at first--
big sorrel and girl--
standing twenty yards off
after a run.
Body steam swirling around them,
she strokes the wet flanks
in a curious pantomime of reward or habit,
oblivious to everything but the movement
of her hands, the impatient
stamp on frozen ground.
Adrenalin still pumping
its sheer force of being,
the horse is restrained by the shy
syllables of a girl
mounting in slow motion:
cold leather yielding to firm
pressure of thigh and back,
as nostrils flared she turns him, effortlessly,
with the enduring gentleness of her will