Read by Kerry Krouse
I was working the knots out from a yard
of my wife’s hair, its dark fan ghosting
the surface of the water, when one of the bubbles
her pursed lips counted into the trough
puttered: “Daniel, Daniel, I think the horses
have returned.” And so it was. Drawing up
over the winter-burnt grasses, two of them
sleek and mud-black, led a third, that stippled colt
a year now lost, up along the erosion-bed
to the flattening where we’d built our farm.
The horses stopped, just outside the shadows,
like us sidestepping the hollow barn —
in the sky was hung a triangle of blue,
three fronts converging on the valley.
For an instant, the dust seemed fixed,
pinned by the horses to the ground
like tulle on a dress-form, or the thinning quilt
thrown over that dark bed where we lie.
My wife, desperate for salving, held still,
still under, and I set the horses to drink
the last of the friction uncurled from her hair.
Down it seeped, down their brute necks
and barreled trunks, down to their hooves, until
shying, they stomped it into ground, for the lightning
to gather up and return it to the wind.
I turn away, look to the far horizon —
picture myself on a galloping back.
“Please,” she says, “please — ” Wanting me
to reach for her, and drown there, again.