The Old Gray

In his heyday children climbed

onto his back after Dad threw on an old blanket


hands clutching his mane as he stepped

slowly through the neglected pasture


all memories now as he searches out

first grass from last year’s brown detritus


they come to the fence, now the

two of them, man and girl


she of the apple and carrots

that she feeds him from her hand


he of the old washpan tied to the fence

filled with oats and sorghum


and later flakes of fresh alfalfa forked

over that he’s fed on over the winter


No one else ever comes to where he’s been

left abandoned in this pasture


So he dreams of mustangs, anticipates mornings

and evenings, the man banging on the pan


to get his attention, this being almost deaf

and blind in one eye the price


Of getting old, owning those old memories

but the man and girl making new ones.