The Herd


Jackie Allaire McDonald, Guest Writer

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It’s quiet, the way she wakes.

Still and soft, she pulls the morning around her body and ties it into place.

Her children rustle around her, her husband already at work.

In forty-five years I’ll meet her,

When her hair is the color of those pearl earrings,

And her husband stoops with every step he takes.

The horse will be buried under the great catalpa,

The barn a hollowed tortoise shell,

Tipping its edges into the soft New Hampshire soil.

Here she watches the mountains from her window,

Carefully loosens her fingers from the edges of her children’s lives,

And knits them back into the earth.

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