by David Roderick
If horses can be said to have souls,
if they’re clairvoyant
and used to the darkness because they,
as some myths claim,
were born at the bottom of the sea,
I wonder if they’d carry
the sadness of a man like me.
Along the fence they nicker
and fart. They gaze from tenement
eyes. I wasn’t ready to climb
this hill and find them
gnawing its young, green crown.
The air around them is so blue.
Shavings of sky float down
and drape their heads. Shy and nodding
they are—one mustard,
one piebald, one a dirty gray.
If they can be said to
have souls, if sweat mists from
their flanks before noon can burn
the hill bald, then I want
to ride them, to sample all three,
even if they carry me through
the last of the raw forests
to some fourth horse,
their brother the death-dealer,
a muscular shade waiting in a clearing,
ablaze in the high sun.
Last updated March 30, 2023