Dad drives the horses in from the field,
to the water tank, where they guzzle.
Smarter than tractors,
they head to the barn on their own.
I follow Dad to the barn.
He unstraps harnesses,
a slapping leather sound,
takes the metal bits from muzzles,
the big creatures snort.
Dad adds halters, flings flynets over,
strings with knots tied at ends.
Aroma of dust, leather,
and horse sweat.
Dad hands me a three-pound coffee can
to measure corn for the manger down the center,
room for six to eight horses,
teams double-stalled together.
I add so many double handfuls of oats
from the bushel basket while Dad
pitches hay down from the mow,
then into the manger.
Munching is comforting,
I feel safe with my dad,
helping him with the horses.
After they eat, Dad lets them out
in the pasture, where they lie down,
feet flailing, rolling to scratch their backs.