Because Aren’t We All Just Learning to Feel Loved
It was not a barn, but the skeletal
timber frame filled with morning
light and fodder and still the horses
hungered. Their cremello coats
were shaved, skin flayed white as a flag
claiming surrender. They did not
mean to become this. In their stable
of no walls, burdened
by the meat of themselves, they lay
there and you pulled the reins. There
is a pasture beyond here, you pleaded
when they tongued the metal bits clean
and sang minor chords into the dry
heat of the field: a song anyone would waltz
alone to, bare feet flirting with the dirt.
Nights later, you dipped your fingers
in dark buckets of oil paint, smeared
it onto the horses’ backs; landscapes
en plein air. For one: a green pond
in springtime. For another: your body
falling in and in, the herd, thick-hooved,
diving after you — then everyone resurfacing
in a third. You painted and painted.
Pointed and urged the horses to look, look.
K, when I say I wish I were better
at accepting kindness, what I mean
is I can see the pasture now. I can see it
and all that open grass.
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