Today's poem is by Leslie Adrienne Miller

Upton's Field

Even then she guessed they were mostly
not to be trusted, so when he agreed
to become a horse, followed her instructions
to lift his knees for a trot, to rock himself
into canter, to toss his mane and stamp
with his chin tucked, she kicked him
hard as she could and galloped off.
It wasn't that he couldn't run
fast enough to catch her, or that he couldn't
have brought her down with a tackle,
but that he couldn't, even in that moment
when his shin smarted and throbbed
with the slice of her hoof, understand
how a girl could be so potent, how
some weakness would slosh in him
as she pounded toward the woods,
crushing cocksfoot and clover to pulp
with that same toe that had marked him.
He was a lanky boy, bespectacled
and thin-boned, but broad shouldered,
able to pin and punish, able to spurn her
and the whole girl game, stomp off
toward the familiar thunk of a ball,
but he doesn't, and maybe can't,
so when he shakes his own shaggy mane
in a shaft of lit pollen and moves
toward her, he does not spit or laugh
or drop his arms from the air where she put them,
but measures his hips into the long stride
she taught, carves a wide crescent
around her flight, herds her back
into the deep foxtail, where they can circle
until they close the distance, dip their noses
into worm rot and root, and she won't
even have to tell him how a horse furls
its upper lip over the stalks
to claim the sweetest ones.

Copyright © 2015 Leslie Adrienne Miller All rights reserved
from Southern Humanities Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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