Your body’d gone
silent. ‘Unresponsive’ was the word
paraded around. I, crossing your arms,
felt my own muscles itching to uppercut—
to unsmug them right out of their lab coats.
You settled on another salvation:
site of stable dust, sunlight, a wheelchair
of height and twitch. A horseshoe nailed
above the entrance, luck-side up.
My bones ached irony: Hope Corrals.
A valuable operation, under-funded.
We took you on a Tuesday afternoon
like this was beginning. No naiveté of morning.
None of Sunday’s goodbye nonsense.
We, your reluctant attendants: sudden believers.
Shasta, and Tunstall Sue, and Westward
approached, bent their heads, soft mouths
to your quiet oat-filled hands. Westward
was everything as he brushed his mouth over your hair—
as no one moved to smooth— knowing
this gift of tangle and moist was more
than years of us crossing, uncrossing.
Ascent to Shasta’s back— the certified
disabled saddle. Your beautiful, overmuch
helmet, and that slow gait of horse and rider.
A cycle punctuated with the tap of hardground hoof
and your here now, here now, encouragement
I’d swear was meant for all of us.
Your body’d gone is reprinted from Cadence of Hooves: A Celebration of Horses, forthcoming, Yarrow Mountain Press.