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My Angel

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I let myself into the barn, the great wooden doors creaking as an old man rising from a worn mahogany rocking chair might. The scent of manure, dried hays, and rolled grains washes over me as I step onto the cement bricks, my leather boots echoing the muffled thuds of impatient horses’ hooves. Ducking under a threadbare green lead rope with tarnished brass clips, I relax amongst the utter familiarity of the old, weather worn barn.
An old mare with a dusty chestnut coat whickers softly to me, a gentle scolding not unlike one she had given many foals in years past. Pushing the iron stall door gently against her, she allows me to lead her gently to the aisle. Reaching for a curry from the bucket patched with duct tape and littered with half-empty bags of molasses covered grains, I get to work on her coat, rubbing in rhythmic circles. Neatly reaching over my faded red flannel coat, she lips a shriveled carrot piece from my pocket. Her velvety nose rubs against my own as she huffs her sweet breath into my face. It warms my frozen cheeks, numb in the cold that steals into the barn in puffs of snow and ice. I hear the barn door creak his old man complaints once again and I crane my neck around to see who it is. The old mare imitates me, shoving me as I attempt to put the brush down. We both relax as I see that it is only you. A smile spreads across my face, no matter how much I will myself to suppress it. Walking towards us, your bronze hair plastered to your face in sweat, your blue jeans worn through to frayed, soft white edges, you lean down towards the mare’s long legs, sliding your hand down them, feeling for heat. When you find none, you pick up a carelessly thrown comb and begin to work through her reddish tail, tangled and knotted through with briars and brambles from galloping carelessly through the rough patches in the snow-blanketed pasture. I reach for the soft goat hair brush and brush off the accumulated leaves and dirt clods on the mare’s rounded belly. I look up to see you humming a song under your breath. I can read your lips as easily as I understand my own thoughts. My angel, fallen from heaven, my darling, given by God, my prayer, my love, my life. I mouth the words with you; they are second nature to me. I know them better than the back of my hand. Few people know the back of their hands as well as they claim. I do not know the calluses, the blisters, the scars and freckles that adorn my coffee-colored skin. Why you sing this now, I wonder silently. You glance at me, your languid cat eyes reflecting the warmth of a mid-day winter sun. As if you can read my mind, as if the mind is a book to be read in front of the hearth, you brush your hand over a dirt-covered old brass plate. “My Angel” is etched in beautiful calligraphy. Below, in smaller letters, I squint to read the almost totally obscured words. My beautiful angel without wings, never let me go. My heavenly paradise, don’t fly away without me. My God, for my life, give me my darling. This song has been mine, and yours. I recall my mother singing it to me, rocking me to sleep. The mare snorts impatiently. And I turn back to grooming her, at peace near my two angels.



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HiChanel said...
Oct. 6, 2012 at 12:03 am:
Wow. This is so beautiful. Amazing job!
 
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