Author's Note: Why horses this month? Because down the country road from my house where I am sheltering in place alone, the horses in their pastures enjoy this season munching, swatting flies, ambling as if nothing is urgent in the warm sun. As if nothing is urgent... You can read more of my poems at triciaknoll.com
If I were a mare, an aging cow pony with a dark line down my back when August’s sun is so hot, I stand still in drying grasses and curse the biting flies on my eyes that make me wish I could fall asleep somewhere dark and cool where the water is fresh And if you are the bay dressage thoroughbred in the same pasture and you have a white cotton mask over your head and ears and a light gauze fly sheet sprayed with deterrent herbal oils on your back and that tasteless man beyond the fence says you look like some kind of Ku Klux Horse though the flies still hover And if you amble forward toward a hank of lushness that grows out from under the split-rail fence, if I saw a green stain of spit on your lip and the way your skin flutters where flies land, if I hear your hoof hit a rock and though you don’t stumble, you take three steps with a bit of hesitation between each, then I would wander toward you; I might find some wonderful mouthful on the way. Or not. I don’t care what your mask and blanket means in terms of who cares for you and who cares for me so I’d turn my rump toward your nose slowly in the way of old ponies, and I would flick my tail knowing you will switch at flies on me because for all our years, no matter whether snow drifts in the door to our barn or the water buckets in our stalls are flecked with slimed hay and beetles, no matter, we are stablemates, barn-naked side by side.
The cowboy entered on a gray horse. With a white Stetson, tan hands, and tight jeans. He rode up to a Walmart in Eagle Point, Oregon to buy dog food. He heard a woman scream, pointing to a young man riding off on her bike. The cowboy cantered after the bike thief, threw his lasso, brought the kid down, tied him to a tree and called a policeman who thought the capture was totally slick. * I watched that video clip ten times. I want that horse, I want to solve a problem with an unexpected skill, a leap out of ordinary. For twenty years I wore a silver Navajo bracelet with three coral ovals – my Wonder Woman cuff to deflect fear, absorb bad vibes and fight for freedom. I love red boots, red slippers, red sandals and if I can catch anything in my rope, I’d aim for a glimmer of equality, of womanpower, on a mare with an Appaloosa rump blanket of stars who picked her way through the pass marked with ancient carvings on rock and heard voices in tall grasses. * If the woman who almost lost her bike is grateful for horses, so am I. To remember Kapkap-Pommi, (Noise of Running Feet), who at the age of twelve galloped up to Sitting Bull’s camp in Canada ahead of U. S. soldiers pursuing her father, the Nez Perce Chief Joseph, leading his people through the freezing Bitterroots in an escape toward Canada. He of the fight-no-more-forever surrender. He who was never permitted to return home. She never saw her father in his exile. When she returned to the states, she was renamed Sarah and put in an agency boarding school. But first, and always she had outwitted and outrode Colonel Miles’ white soldiers. That is why I love my bracelet of possibility and unexpected endings.
©2020 Tricia Knoll
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