It’s near sunset and the horses are high up on the hill.
Clouds are moving in. No rain but much shadow.
The light’s an untrustworthy yellow.
He opens the barn door wide
then climbs the rise toward where
the mare and her colt, the stallion,
nibble away the hours on the lush grass.
It’s the third day of his new status
as a widower farmer.
He looks at the turkey vultures
with a more jaundiced eye.
Likewise, the red fox.
Or anything willing to peck over a carcass.
The death of a loved one
brings out every death.
Some creatures react with glee.
Others, like the horses,
indulge their mellow indifference.
Some things won’t change.
He’ll still cut up his apples,
pour salt on the slices.
He’ll drink tea with globs of honey.
And he’ll attend to the horses,
fetch them back to their stalls
while it’s not too dark out.
Their manes glow.
Their heads nod amiably.
And they follow where he leads.
The horses are the perfect companions
if life is to reestablish itself.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Nebo, Euphony and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.