driveways around these parts
do double duty as horse paths–
the joys of living close to kin
who often struggle to be kind;

and so, hand raised to wave from horseback, genteel
he asks “are you doing anything?” in the way
you ask when you want 
the answer to be “no, not at all, how can I help you”
and I answer “no, not at all, how can I help you”
because that is who this nephew is

we go behind my house, his plan
almost as if it was formulated the twentieth time
around the hay bottom today
and I know my role: to capture,
though I know not what I am looking for
and so I point the camera
trail his trail twice round
horse and him in frame like asked
and present my work to him

with a pause “but”
“do you think you can film it sideways and
make him bigger
so you can see his gate better”
and intuitively I know exactly what to do
with the camera
trail his trail twice round
fingers pinching and spreading
steady rotating
to make a product that elicits “great,
his gate is really getting better”

but then, “do you think you could clip it
just so it is the second time around because
you could edit it so much faster than I could” and so
back and forth we go,
question and answer, establishing markers
to delineate the “great” from the “good” 
until he has the clip he can smile at
while I stand
aware of what I did, but
ignorant of what I made
like he and I spoke two different languages

so to fill the silence, my hand reached
for the horse’s nose, to tickle a spot underneath the bridle
and then to pet a cropped part of his mane
dipping my feet in
a vocabulary he had taught me as a child
while my uncle watched himself
and for the first time my eyes actually saw
the beauty of this horse’s coat 

“they call it a bay” he said 
and I replied “it reminds me of cherry wood”
“I see mahogany” he replied, and added
“it’s a shame–no matter what I do,
the camera can’t capture how pretty his coat is”
and I said “I know”

it was only after he rode away
and my eyes could no longer dance on
the fine grain of that pelt
that I realized so many things in my life
are rich, and ineffable,
like mahogany