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March 27, 2023

Horses, Oldham

By Donna Pucciani

Horses, Oldham

I have rediscovered the dirt road
behind the houses, with a view
of an English meadow, where
half a dozen horses—chestnut,
white, dappled gray—used to run,
their manes waving in the wind
like laundry or random angels.

Three years ago, I stayed a week
at the adjoining cottages and gazed
at mares and stallions cavorting
beyond the stone walls. Now and again,

one of them met my eyes, wandered over
in search of a handful of hay
or a wordless conversation, mystery
hanging in the air between us
or lost in our mingled breath
clouding the dew-frosted field.


I walk empty-eyed along
the earthen track, scanning the distance
for some sign of movement, a glossy
rump or the flash of rippling muscles.

Today’s blessing appears in a small lot
around the corner, where I turn to find
two white nags, sway-backed, blanketed,
munching tufts of dandelioned scrub,
their hooves milling in the mud.

Their eyes are mildly surprised, disinterested
in the stranger from Chicago for whom
their pale bodies, sleepy gaze, their very
presence provides a benediction borne
of barns and boots and rumbly trailers.

My own pale hair and lifted gaze become
theirs, our ebbing energies drifting
like bits of straw in the watery afternoon sun.

Article © Donna Pucciani. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-02-27
Image(s) are public domain.
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