When the barn doors are opened
on a bright frosted Christmas morning,
the inner darkness penetrated by a beam of sunlight,
exposing an equine escapee.
His stall door stands ajar, the door unlatched,
he meanders the black of the unlit barn aisle lined with hay bales
munching his breakfast, lunch, and dinner
all of which lies strewn and ruined at his feet.
Not only did he somehow escape his locked door
but he has chosen to leave poop piles
on every other horses’ breakfast, lunch, and dinner
as futilely they watch from behind their stall doors.
He has had the run of the place all night~
obvious from his ubiquitous hoof tracks amid
the overturned buckets, trampled halters, tangled baling twine,
twisted hoses, toppled hay bales and general chaos.
At least he didn’t climb up and start the tractor
or eat the cat food or pry open the grain barrel
or chew a saddle or two, or rip horse blankets apart,
but from the looks of things I think he tried.
His head goes up as the sunlight highlights his nocturnal escapade,
catching him red-hoofed and boldly nonchalant, proclaiming innocence.
Like a child asking for milk to go with a stolen cookie
he approaches me, begging for a carrot after his all night repast.
I grab a fist full of mane, put him back, double lock him in.
Surveying the mess, I want to turn around, shut the barn doors
and banish it back to the cover of darkness,
hide his sins now illuminated in the light of day.
I remember all the messes I’ve made in my life.
I clean his up, give him a hug,
and forgive as I’m forgiven.