After My Husband Tells Me I Cannot Go Riding Again

Swish of tail, stamp of hoof—the snow
pulled up against the barn for warmth

and the way the gelding nudges the ground
for any brush of grass,

his nose inhaling up,
broad teeth.

I tell you,
he knows I am the imposter

touching his side as though we are friends.
I want to saddle him up,

ride the field,
but this is not mine for the doing;

every animal has its own master.
He stamps

the ground to signal my insolence
roving one broad shoulder with my fingertips,

then twining them into his mane,
tempting power, asking

to be considered raw and wanting—
not chaste, not home again—but out there:

dirt in wind in tongue kicked up.
Like a mirror,

the gelding’s eyes find me, glistening with cold.
In them, I see my husband moving

far across the way,
hanging the saddle he has oiled on its hook.

Last updated November 14, 2022