One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.

Poem copyright © 1997 by Claudia Emerson Andrews, a 2005 Wytter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress. Reprinted from Pharoah, Pharoah (1997) by permission of the author, whose newest book, Late Wife, will appear this fall; both collections are published by Louisiana State University's Southern Messenger Poets.
Source: Pharoah Pharoah (Louisiana State University Press, 1997)
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