Bright as it could be past March—
the boggy thatch that could sink
a pastern gone firm as a spread palm
and blindingly green—you rarely
lost track of the dark in Clark's field,
not with all that border oak and fir.
Somewhere up there our postman's
father did himself in.
In which of the four fields we never
knew though the morning shot—
we must have heard it while heaving
dung into a barrow, shaking out
clean straw, breaking the iced tops,
steaming the mash. We must have taken
it absently for hunters out of season,
a baulking combine stalled, then quit.
Schooling horses in the long
grassed tracks, you wondered could this
be the place, the center around which
our walks unwound into slow trots, then
barely held gallops, that wild straining
at the circle's taut rim that in hours
and months settled to rhythmically, cantered
halos. Perhaps it was there-at the still point
of figure-eights, where one loop ceased and another
began. If there, spirit forsook flesh
for thin air, and if in a lightheaded instant
the horse unknowing, lunged onto the changed lead—
unsettling leaves, loosening rooks
from the listing, dark-eyed firs
with all the sharp violence of an unforeseen,
and irredeemable, second thought.