Ride the horse in the direction it’s going.
They mean, by this, I should acquiesce: give and take.
They have their ideas.
I show up as usual with my ropes and straps and
superior intellect, divining flight.
He pays no attention. He assumes I am in awe.
But I am all business and I blow like wind
through his gate, my voice smooth as leather,
his capture shiny as the skin of an apple.
You know the drill, I say, running my hands over
the planet of his rump, his neck rounding like a ribbon,
his eye, bottomless.
He does not protest as a slip the halter over the expanse of his face.
I have papers that prove I own him and his artful name.
My hands grow soft with dust from his coat.
I will ride as ferociously as a tigress.
I will cling as fiercely as disease.
And when it ends—when the fire snaps
off its ember leaving me lying flat upon the earth,
blood dappling purple mushrooms under my skin,
my lungs desperate for their lost stashes of air,
my bones a disordered scaffold,
I will wonder where he has gone.
I will resign myself to
the rickety endurance of the legs I am given.
Then I will feel the warm breath of him again,
the soft flesh of his nose caressing my hand,
nudging me to stand up and join him
on the way home.
by Christina Kapp
from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 10, June 2008
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim