Elizabeth Fletcher


Catapulting over the Bay’s head
you gulp air

You hit the packed dirt
taste blood

The horse’s
wicked sharp hoofs
slice by your scalp

Bucking and squealing
his tail a streaming flag of defiance
he gallops to the far end of the pasture
Thunder and lightning
shaking the earth

You are alone

in the pasture
with the horse
and his fury

His rank sweat
and yours

No one saw
the two of you
twisting and sidewinding

your fear

You stagger up

Electricity pulses
between you
and the horse
all rippling muscle and grace
shining and beautiful
tossing his head

Moments ago
There was a promise
of forest paths
of a meadow gallop
of you whispering your secrets
into his flicking ears

and the horse moving with you
as if he knew
the two of you belonged on a journey

You wipe dust from your eyes

The sky is the brilliant blue
of endless summer days
and indifference

The horse crops grass.

Bruised and rattled
you leave the pasture
walk down through the twisted trees
of the farm’s abandoned orchard.
Startle a doe eating windfalls

Startle yourself

You still ache for the ride.
For stroking the horse’s neck
as the two of you gallop

Fear dances along your spine
yet on your sweating outstretched palm
you offer him a windfall, cider sweet
He crunches it.

And then − ¬he allows you to swing up
for the ride

Elizabeth Fletcher’s poems have appeared in The Schuylkill Valley Journal, Ariel Chart, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, and the Ekphrastic Review, among others.