Spring calf

calf2

The hard and spotted hands took hold of post

and rail to steady legs uncertain in

their age. The dimming eyes made narrow lines

to better see beyond the gray eclipse

of years. He looked toward the pasture where

his father used a team of chestnut draughts

to clear the trees and grazed the growing herd.

He looked toward the pasture where he gleaned

a life much sweeter than he could have dreamed.

Now wearied, worn from harvests he’d desired,

he thought he saw the season’s coming end.

He thought he saw what long he knew was next,

but feared no less for knowing: quiet, cold,

and winter, winter, endless winter dark.

He blinked away the sight and turned to go.

But there, in grass still glistening with dew

and washed with sunlight, stood a newborn calf,

so young it tottered when it tried to walk.

The moistened eyes drew wide to better see

beyond the gray eclipse of years. He thought

he saw another spring: it was the first

of springs; it was his father’s spring; it was

his early spring; it was a future spring.

The hard and spotted hands reached out to hold

the calf–warm, wet and trembling with life–

and steady legs uncertain in their youth.

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