The Quick Coming of Night

by Ann B. Day

The sun descends all too soon
on a late December afternoon.

When we went out to feed the stock
there’d be a dusk at four o’clock,
the sky would have a purple glow.
Our boots would squeak on frozen snow
as we trod the path our footsteps wore,
that thread from kitchen to stable door.

We’d pull the cords of yellow light
to brighten the barn against the night.
The stanchioned cows would moo for grain,
the horses would jangle their tether chain,
chickens would chortle over their eggs,
the cats would rub against our legs.
We’d feed and milk and hear them chew;
when done we’d leave on a light or two.

I’d see the barn from my kitchen chair,
and know it was warm with the animals there.

Now, no lights glow
in the quick coming of night;
snow drifts across the path,
the door of the barn is bolted tight.