Winter Chores

by Ann B. Day

I trek to the barn
in the icy pre-light;
the frozen air stings
and pulls my skin tight.
Boots squeak on the snow
where footsteps have gone
into the sharpness
of a mid-winter dawn.

The cattle stand lined
in rigid regime,
their breath surrounds them
with frigid steam.
Frost etches the windows
and barnyard gate;
my kitchen stove smoke
rises thin and straight.

I fork hay to the cows
as the east shows a haze
where winter’s weak sun
begins with a glow.
Yet, in the dim light
and feeble rays,
the temperature stays
at twenty below.