You doubt horses. Soulful
but treacherous, their gaze returns
no investment. They’re spooked by
everything that also spooks you.
Their manure production daunts.
When you were five, a horse swung
its heavy head and knocked you cold.
Now every horse daydreaming
in a field elicits comment. If
so husky a critter gets colic
how do you comfort it? Can’t
cuddle in your lap, can’t cower
dog-shaped at your feet. Maybe
we whose beards grow nightly
understand large clumsy fragile
animals better than you, better
than even adolescent girls
who love to straddle horses
with tender and luscious thighs.
Maybe the essence of the horse
dwells in the history of abuse—
beaten while lashed to carts,
gunned down in hundreds of wars,
starved, tortured, overbred, raced
until their legs break in protest.
You doubt their intentions
and read their soft eyes the way
a child reads hard liquor swirling
in the dark of parental words.
Maybe we should adopt a horse
from the animal rescue league
and name it after each other
and let it graze and graze and graze
without asking anything of it
and see how long it outlives us
under blue so shiny it hurts.
William Doreski‘s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).