Elemental Lives

My hammer man strikes
the horseshoe, showering sparks
streak his arms.

His eyes fix the flames, their olive-green
lights and fades
from green to brown to green
glinting as the metal rings.

You strike, strike,
your kilt swings black and blue,
thick rough loops of cloth
fold your shoulder, tuck-in
across your belly hard and low

and the horse stands slow, quiet,
patient with an age of dreaming
in his calm brown eyes,
his auburn mane braided
neat about his neck

and you rub his nose ...
I know that palm rough and warm.
The fire lights your chin, you
plunge the iron, evade the steam
the metal hates your hand

but bends ... outrage hisses the still
evening air
I watch your body move, the slow
twitch of the horse's tail, my own hair
smells of woodsmoke
and I pleat it
as your muscles clench, clench, let go.

Rhythmic ringing shakes the leaves,
the grass is lush and green beneath
this man, this horse and me.  Our lives
are elemental as the trees,
and we are free as wind,
the water in our well sweet and clean.
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