Beautiful, the fourteen-hundred-pound round
bale of sweet brome the grower and I roll
from the back of his truck against the usual tree.
The geldings can hardly contain themselves.
They smelled and came running across the field
and now they look and nicker, and move in
even before I can cut loose the four long
bands of twine from the edge, where they nip instead
the greenest, sweetest stuff from the wound center
of the man-high wheel of it. They feed there
for most of an hour, long after I’ve written the check
and the hay man’s made his way back home
and it being August I relax on the porch
with a beer my wife brought home from town
and, knowing my usual routine on such days, slipped
into the freezer until just minutes ago, so that
I might sit and watch the horses, having had
all they want, move in slow circles around
the great black walnut’s vast expanse of shade,
then stop — BJ, the troublesome elder, and Red,
the beautiful, genuinely exceptional ride —
as always in the same precise relation to one another
(Red at forty-five degrees and a little back) —
before taking off around the fence line
at a trot, then a canter, and then, for just a few
beautiful moments, a dead and joyful run.
Robert Wrigley lives with his wife, the writer Kim Barnes, and their children, on the Clearwater River in Idaho. His most recent collection of poetry is Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems, published by Penguin in 2006. “Hay Day” originally appeared in New South: Georgia State University’s Journal of Art & Literature. Copyright © 2009 Robert Wrigley. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
Photo credit: Matt Valentine.