Monday, August 06, 2012

The scourge that drives each of us

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Vigilant are they who sense fear in their masters. ~ Aucassin Verdé

Two Riders

Commotion draws me to my window. Across
the field, a woman beats a horse with the lash
of her rein. The animal rears and backs up, not
wanting to proceed forward as commanded.

I watch for some minutes, neither giving in to
the other’s will. Her mouth lets out an unbridled
stream of profanities. The horse knows the brand
and sting, if not the meaning, in her burning words.

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Relenting at last, the beast presses its head down,
retakes the dirt path, trots on through the dry meadow
this young summer has already claimed as its own.
The woman stands her won stirrups, cinches up her pants.

In a muted thud of hoof and whinny, I watch them disappear
into the far brush, the seam between them seared and smoky,
tender from welts that rise in maned ridges above them,
stropped through the scourge that drives each of us down.

Joseph Gallo
July 13, 2012

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