The Twins Visit a Farm

The heavy black bulk of the draft horse
lay in the heat, circled by lime. Too huge
to bury, it was left for flies, night animals.
We walked around the gleaming hill
of its flanks, the nostrils tulip-blue,
tiny terrain of the pink gums,
belly mushrooming sweetness.

Too timid to touch this mystery
we were old enough to know
this was his final
beauty, this laying out
on meadow grass, beside aspen.

That very afternoon we had chased the Holsteins
home, their full udders sloshing
warm milk on us as they ran,
their gentle lowing a quiet happiness.

Elderberries and wild raspberries
had caught at our skirts
as we trotted toward the old farmhouse
where Mrs. Chesrown was scrubbing the milk buckets
in the hot sudsy water and the final light.

Sun glinting on a black coat:
twilight closing over earth,
a time of evening that pinches.
I glanced across at my pigtailed twin
as we re-entered the gate of the farmyard.

She had grown this summer and her knees
looked knobbier, her legs, gangly.
Her face said: You too, you too.


From I Have Tasted the Apple (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1996) by Mary Crow. Copyright © 1996 by Mary Crow. Used with the permission of the publisher.