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Two Sketches of Horses, by James Galvin

March 16, 2011 by Reader's Connection

As Is

 

 

 

James Galvin´s poem “Two Sketches of Horses” is being reprinted from his collection As Is (©2009) by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Sketches of Horses

As for the three horses
Standing under the tree when
Lighting hit it,
One was old,
The one I rode as a kid.
One was a colt I was starting.
One was beautiful, a gunmetal
Blue roan, and way too crazy to ride.
One by one I put
A rope around their necks
And dragged them behind the truck
To a low spot, where scavengers
Could do their work in peace.
The crazy one–that was
The first time she´d had
A rope around her neck.
I went back a year later.
Coyotes hadn´t scattered their bones,
But the three skeletons were clean
So it was like
Three horses running together,
White ghost horses running
Lying down across the
Surface of the earth.

*

Tonight a beautiful girl,
Blonde hair loose about her shoulders,
Walks out into the pasture
With a bag of carrots.
The wildflowers printed on
Her summer dress match
(Or close enough)
The real wildflowers in the field.
The butterflies stitched
On her cowboy boots
Match the butterflies
That rise where she walks
And settle back into the tall grass
Where she passes.
Six yearling colts come up
To nuzzle her and get their carrots.
Behind her, snowy mountains
And the sunset detonating
A tree-shaped cloud.
I watch from the doorway,
And for a minute, maybe longer,
Everything
That threatens us
Threatens to save us.

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