He woke when they came to him last night,
dragging tethers uprooted by brute tender
strength. Massive, moonlit, the two red oxen
settled down, folding, knees first, beside
the man who'd carved their yokes
slowly out of ash and elm.
That day they'd pulled a truck from the mire
down by the river, knowing what to do
after a glance at the lay of it, a nod from the man
who held no whip.
He woke when they came to him, big ruddy
shadow shapes entering his night's space.
But rather than scold or restake them,
he told them with his low familiar voice they