HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE I’VE DREAMED
How long has it been
Since the horses were turned out,
To the almond grass
And the summer foothills
Below the blue range.
The old gelding snorted,
His legs stiff, his hide
Worn into patches by harness and heel,
His mane shook
With a shiver down his spine
In disbelief at this dream.
He took you barrel racing at the fairs
When you were a girl,
Carried you to the far fences
And back again.
How old were you when he was sold?
The ribbon round his neck was the same blue
I tied in your braid one night,
Or so I’ve been told,
The same blue as the mountains
I left so long ago.
How odd to meet your pony here,
Twenty years since it died-
And where were you, my young bride,
Your chest heaving, your smile,
And all that hair turned to soft straw by the sun?
Where were you?
He could do anything, you once said,
Open gates with his teeth,
Come and go as he pleased,
Take you riding up
To where the sky was as blue as heaven,
And only turn when the cold of the evening came.
How long has it been,
Since you gave him his head
Returning at dusk,
And ran him into the downed barbed wire
Hidden in the high grass.
He was as stiff as stone,
Unwilling to suffer harm.