A girl comes out
of the barn, holding
like a bucket of milk
or like a lantern.
Her shadow’s there.
They pump a bucket of water
and loosen their blouses,
they lead the mare out
from the field
their thin legs
blending with the wheat.
Crack a green kernel
in your teeth. Mist
in the fields,
along the clay road
Each morning as I rise
to let the horses out to graze for the day,
I’m once again that teenage girl who awoke early
to climb on horseback to greet the summer dawn,
mist in my hair and dew on my boots,
picking ripe blackberries and blueberries as we rode past.
The angled light always drew sharper shadow lines as the sun rose
until I knew it was time to turn around,
each hoof step taking us closer to home
to clean barn, do chores, hang laundry,
weed the garden until sunset.
It is sunlight that creates and then erases
all in me that is shadow.
Eventually, only the real me remains.
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