So, if my mind's not quite in the game, my body can still go there. Sloughing off the winter is close to being my favorite time of a horse-owning year. I dig in with my few simple tools and work at it until my shoulders burn. The horse loves it as much as I do, just differently. She loves the pressure of my raking through her coat over and over, leans into it, sighs. I love the feel of chasing a seam, like coal, finding the glitter gleam under lifeless shale.
The brittle strands sometimes levitate in the surrounding air - they cleave to my lips before long, line an eye. I pull and drag her contours, following her every small shift of position without thought. If only I could peel off my own shit like I can peel off what she's already cast away. But I don't think about things like that then, only notice sometimes the burning in my wrists, the sweat at my brow. It's satisfying, relieving, a little freeing.
Afterward, lingering at the doorway, she seems to smile. That can be enough. It can be enough for what it was. She looks beautiful.