Animals were not allowed in our farm house,
three rooms and an attic. Dark mornings
with frost on the inside of the windows, thin
glass against the Minnesota winter, the icy
linoleum floors nipped at my bed-warm feet
as I ran down the stairs in flannel pajamas to
dress in front of the oil furnace. Chores before
school, bundled for the hundred-yard trek, push
hard to slide the barn door just wide enough to
be greeted by a screaming mob of thin, half-wild
cats clamoring for milk; the wagging collie dog
muttered a hushed bark for his table scraps. Grain
for the mare, the hens were still nesting while
steam rose off dairy cows chewing silage to the
milking-machine rhythm. The air was rich with
moist snorts and the earthy scent of warm manure.
Winters passed, now the dogs sleep on the couch
as I dress for chores and watch you drive away to
holidays with family, their house with ice inside the
windows and the door shut to those who are other.
Planning our 2019 clinic schedule now. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for hosting details or to be added to the email list.