Feeding horses winter mornings,
I turn the key to hear the click,
watch the fuel gauge needle flinch

as glow plugs heat for injected diesel
before the Kubota fires to make my rounds
and save old legs for another day.

Backing into a swirl of first exhaust,
I pause to inhale the unmistakable
past that reappears in freezing air:

taste and smell the smudge pots
along every road and dirt avenue
between Exeter’s citrus trees,

battalions of flaming sentries purring
beneath the roar of wind machines
and ever-twinkling frosty stars.

I become where I’ve come from
and roll towards the barn cats’ bowl,
faces of horses waiting patiently.

2 responses to “INHALING THE PAST

  1. Not all of your cowboy and younger other types of “followers” will be able to fully appreciate the kinds of memories the whiff of cold diesel ignition conjures for a older citrus grower. Heck, even the younger ones have only experienced the wind machine blast.


  2. Think of all they missed, John, back when diesel was less than 10 cents/ gallon, back when we did almost everything the hard way.


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