Dark-thirty, each morning starts a new
poem before saddle and gather, before
crossing the creek, before dashing

bovine dreams from grassy beds –
before accountants and attorneys flesh
a sum of days into numbers and words

for someone else – that grand game with
faceless authority that we kneel before
we quietly slip away from the bunch.

Are we so different from the beasts
we care for, have we evolved as much
to find our niche of peace? I wonder

with some envy as bands of females
move among the wild, make homes
and families for a lifetime, adapt

within a place on this earth – free,
but for two or three days a year –
to direct each step just to lie together

and silently gossip amid the sweet
scent of chewed cuds trapped beneath
the canopied shade of a buckeye tree.

Dark-thirty, before daylight shatters
overhead and the phone rings, I feel
my way to mark an escape uphill.

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