If Wishes Were Horses
I wish there were an island flush with mangos and papayas
and natives plumed in feathers like the atavistic Mayas,
who’d sing the runic epics as they tended evening fires.
I wish there were an island on the sea;
and winds with piquant spices like the chili of El Paso
would blow upon the lively waves beyond the mild Sargasso,
with latitudes of freedom and a horse you couldn’t lasso
as fleet as any wind would come to me;
and I would give her carrots, sugar cubes, and bits of apple,
and by her wordless kindness on a back of silver dapple
I’d ride without a saddle on a horse you couldn’t grapple.
O what I’d give for such a thing to be;
for like the wind we’d travel on the piquant island’s beaches
and laugh when cynics caviled as we sought the outer reaches
beyond the judge’s gavel and the politician’s speeches,
as careless as a wind and fancy free.
We’d hide upon an island near a city made of granite,
just past the sooty towers on an overcrowded planet,
an isle that can’t exist outside of childhood dreams – or can it,
if what we wished had waking eyes to see?
by Ed Shacklee
Editor’s Note: The lovely cadence of this poem deceives the reader into thinking the subject matter is mild. However, by the end, the true nature of the imagery slips out as the narrator’s voice is given teeth (a granite city, overcrowded planet, politician’s speeches).