I Have Never Been a Horse


I have never been a horse,

never went from lope

to canter, trot to gallop,

never felt each gait—

its varied music,

gentle play of notes

in the soft shift

of bone and muscle.

Never let my chest swell

with the power engine

of my own horse heart,

never let that burning

machine do all the knowing.

Never pressed

wet wide open eye to

wide open field

and saw in its wild

untended green

a place to graze, to run,

to win. Never held

openness of air itself,

its soothing hand

on my chestnut coat,

my sunlit mane, the hum

of flies—a lull in my ear.

Never relished spit

gathered at the corners

of my lips, the warm palm

they kissed when pulling

sweet grass into my slow

horse mouth. Never touched

the freedom of a loosed bit,

bridle finally lifted. Never

pawed at the dirt after

fresh rain, bowed down

to that bowl

of my own making,

and drank.