Unsettled in-between days, a musty fog
slows the sunrise, flannel jacket zipped-up
for early chores. The chill is a relief from
the flies, made slow and mean by the cold.
Hours later in midday sun, they bite for
blood, the horses frantic, shaking heads,
stomping hooves. What fly-spray can’t touch,
the frost will kill any night now. Heat and
flies are both short-timers, as winter tests
the ground. Late evenings under the crisp sky,
air too clean in the nostril, gone out again
to check horses, their acid-sour discomfort
visible in their tense flank muscles, reluctant
to eat, their gut sounds muted as the dark wind
mutters a creaky barn draft, the barometer
fluttering with the shifting tilt of the earth.