Today's poem is by Matthew Thorburn

Horse Poetica

The one I rode in on. That mud-colored nag.
When he blinks his black eye bigger
than my fist, his eyelid's an upside-down
pocket. And the scrape, the spark of horseshoes
on dry riverbed rocks—every sound has a silence
tied to its tail. Or else it gets penned
up in the mighty barrel staves of his ribs.
Oh, but staves? That makes me
hear music. That tinny harmonica, that tuneless
squeezebox, the song we ought to know
better by now, but still follow for days
down a path that's only a path because
we belive it is. Now where'd our giddy up
and go go? My horse can't canter. I hop along.
We've been outfoxed. Farmed out and fenced in.
If we were given a chance, then given
a second chance, we'd both choose a paddle
and a boat and float. Soggy but saddle-less.
We'd both need new names.
Then new shoes. Meanwhile, we hang
a left at the one-armed cactus. There's another life
after this one, but it's just as dusty. Meanwhile,
we're caught in a crowd of cows and cowhands.
But they part for us, they part like the Red Sea
of beef. Then they get going. Then I get
the bit between his teeth. Then he bites.
Boy, could we use a minor catastrophe or two.
Let lightning like a lasso streak straight at us.

Copyright © 2006 Matthew Thorburn All rights reserved
from Passages North
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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