Morning Service

A woman in a rough coat
walks across the yard
and enters the barn,
still dark in the winter dawn.

From a crack, high up
in some warped board,
the first swath of sun
falls across and down.

Tines grate and lift.
Stalks of dry light
scatter up and over
the splintered wood.

A cow's flank
and a bent shoulder
warm to brown
and breathing gold.

Slow hooves
move and shift,
stirring epiphanies
of bright dust.

Hard spurts
hit the sides
of a bucket
in a steady
alternating
rhyme.

A cat leaps
to catch a thin
looping whisker of milk
from a deft hand.

The steam of breath, bucket
and urine-soaked hay
rises,
sudden incense
from the opening door.

Sara Kyle Esgate lived and worked in Wilmette, Illinois when this poem appeared.

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