Horse

for MT

For you, I’ll recall walking

to the barn to ride my horse, Biscuit.

1991. I wore a white blouse

that tied at the throat

and mom’s brown leather coat

with tangles of suede leather

dangling from the sleeves.

I was thirteen. See the camel-

coloured jodhpurs,

the tall black riding boots,

my brown hair tied up in a pony

tail, and me taking big steps

through the suburb?

It didn’t take long to cut

out to the fields where

mom boarded the thoroughbred.

I went there after school,

but sometimes I’d arrive and

realize what I’d forgot,

so I’d tack him up and ride him back

through the subdivision

where horses couldn’t go, careful

not to leave a hoofprint

on the neighbours’ lawn.

I’d tie him to a streetlight

and go inside.

 

For you, I’d like to take

a picture of that. The empty

subdivision at 3:15 in the afternoon

on a Wednesday; those rows

of identical homes, brand new

as they all were then; and

those pastel colours — you know

the kind — and the beige

vinyl siding and the brand new green

lawns like postage stamps

licked and stuck to the earth out front.

No trees, just a razed cow field

where developers built and

we moved in. This picture

is huge. Pull back. See my bay tied

by the reins to the street lamp?

 

From here, he is small, impatient,

wanting to snip at the grass

with his enormous flat white teeth —

but he can’t, he’s caught up.

He lifts one wide front hoof and

brings it down on the asphalt,

a clop like two heavy blocks

coming together in an auditorium.

He stamps that hoof again

and again, my big dark horse, waiting

for me to come on back

outside.

Published online January 01 2010.


At the Root of Voice cover image

This piece was published in ‘At the Root of Voice,’ the Winter 2010 issue of CV2.

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