When she was little, she would gallop
around and around the back field,
long hair streaming out behind her,
galloping to the rhythm
of the hoofbeats in her heart.
we smiled as we watched her
while she worked in town, then, later,
an Arabian, a Grande Dame of horses,
finally a horse in her back yard,
bossing all the horses who came later.
she who had never had children.
Because its mother would not nurse him,
all of her heartbreak.
She still can't speak his name.
when you love an animal,
where lie all of the cats and dogs and horses,
who also died too young.
because they are still at home.
circle the burial ground on their track.
and puffs up, then deflates,
as if the ghost horses are galloping
underground in their dreams.
Sometimes the live ones above-ground
kick up their heels and toss their manes,
through the farmhouse window.
and wise eyes. They look into our souls;
over the fence-rail and whuff
in our faces. Their gentle, seeking lips
nuzzle our hands, looking for treats.
If they find none, they nibble our clothing,
or the top of the fence, and sigh.
They daydream about carrots and apples,
and sweet, young grass.
and their people, staring towards the window,
where their humans live,
waiting for their next meal of hay.
until they came to her in life:
each one with its own story,
and safe stall.
and so she gives them