Cockcrow’s rays against red-painted siding
add a fiery tincture, stark and arresting,
to an otherwise monotone surround
of swidden and forests pruned and pollarded,
a quiet haven redolent of timber and hay
where each thread of sound
is distinctly discerned and townspeople
come to rusticate or else when lost.
At prandial hours, grazing livestock mosey
along through sliding doors, past tractors
in various states of disrepair, keen on ensilage
to supplement their diets;
they casually disregard the ranch hand,
immersed in the sudorific ardor of labor,
forging a brand in the refiner’s fire.
All the stalls and chutes are in adequate fettle,
although silos display the toll of the elements.
Pewter wind chimes, decorative and melodic,
taunt the aged weather vane with their newness
even as the windpump bemoans its missing blades.
Local folk, salt of the earth, humble as a pebble,
heave bales and inhale the breeze,
glad to disburden their backs
every so often and munch by the porch
smoked jerky, guessing at the spice rub,
an unorchestrated symphony of neighing,
lowing, bleating, crowing, and clucking
constant in the background, reverberating off
lofty rafters where spiders oversee proceedings.