Early one morning on my way for iron,
autumn arrived, pocking the ground
with ovenbirds, nicking the white knives
of poplars, their scissored bracts, keeping
track of small fatigues: cords of wood,
the leaf-fall that finally levels. Decay
opens out like a colt, composure working
backward towards panic. Always this
pall before the hoof-step, the damp knit
of soil, wooded underbelly, muted
like a crown of maples. In this I have
fixed the thought of ore: a hammer exacting
after the lift of it has passed, iron as dull
want; vise, a dark stall. I say forge to ready
the legs, to coax the knuckled trunks still.
“The Farrier” is from Original Instructions for the Perfect Preservation of Birds &c., a chapbook published by the Poetry Society of America (2008).