Black Sphere of Night Vision

Last pence spent riding Gatwick to shire,
then on foot, haggard and tired.
Three ragged miles,
an hour in snow and storm
along a fence that lines
an open pasture, no refuge to keep warm.
Gales blow fog through my brain.
I count pickets, white wooden mumbles,
baggage on my back since Greece.
I grab the fencepost, stumble
and stop, my breath clouded near,
distrust my mind that like this fence
marks paces and traces the dark.

Footsteps, footsteps? I’m now seated.
Must be deluded.
Hoofsteps, hoofsteps! The steps repeated,
no longer muted
by the distance that closes, a mare there by me
eye-to-eye me,
black sphere of night vision.
She exhales,
snowmelts my hair, thaws my cheeks
turns and faces me.
I return the breath
snowmelt her whiskers.
This exchange places me
beside her belly swollen with foal.

We follow pickets, separate but not divided.
Footsteps, hoofsteps, each to our own gait
shouldering each other,
shouldering our weight.
Pasture ends now, pickets turn
as the road follows on.
We’ll each unload our burdens
as tomorrow tomorrows on.