Text Message to a Friend Accidentally Deleted When the Mushrooms Wore Off.
A horse's flank tightens and lifts,
I admire you, flank unhinged and tail
flicked. I lean on a fence and draft bits.
I admire you, as a man, though
more (and less) than a man.
Horses (other than you) never
really did it for me – target
of those girlish gasps while scampering
up to soccer practice, or pumpkin patches
deep in Seneca territory just of the highway
to Rochester, New York. Nothing but blessed
geldings ridden afterschool or on the weekends
while you sung in Italian
and digested manifestos.
I told myself I would never write
about horses –
The screensavers, the glitter, the pornographic
middle-school verse, the ribbons, the brushes, the
entendre-laden lingo, the spirit, the Christmas wish,
the poorly stitched, itchy pillows on basement
couches, the paintings, the money –
you, the man I can never be, or
the horse I’m afraid to be:
sincerity is learned not on the side-lines
but in the saddle.
And one hand clings to a phone, the other
listless on a stretch of just-rusted wire
by the maple tree the farmer left for shade.
I admire you because I had no strength to write
about horses, nor the gumption, (nor
the confidence, sexually).
Horses are easy.
Easy like poems about poems.
Easy like poems about horses.
Their majesty is tapped, saturated,
you are not a horse.
I admire you because I will never show you
this. Not because of your inadequacy,
but mine. I tasted you for sugar when in truth
you're sap – hard and thick and binding,
and muscular – raw maple and potential.
And me, mouth open and dry and dumbfounded
by a horse, or you.