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Equine aubade


Consider how smart
smart people say horses are.
I love waking
to a field of such intelligence, only pigs
more likely to go to MIT, only dew
harboring the thoughts of clouds
upon the grass and baptizing
the cuffs of my pants as I walk
among the odes. Long nose
of a thousand arrows
bound together in breath, each flank
a continent of speed, this one
quiet as a whisper
into a sock, this one
twitchy as a sleeper
dreaming the kite string
to her shadow has snapped. Old now
to my ways, they let me touch
their voltage, the bustling waves
of atoms conscripted to their form, this one
even allowing my ear to her side
so I can elope
with her heartbeat. I often feel
everything is applause, an apparition
of the surprise of existence,
that the substances of life
aren't copper and lithium, fire
and earth, but the gasp
and its equivalents, as when rain falls
on a hot road
and summer sighs. Or the poem
feels that, it's hard to tell
my mind from the poem's, the real
from the lauded horses, there's always
this dualism, this alienation
of word from word
or time from thrust
or window from greed. I am eager
to ride a horse out of the field, out of language,
out of the county
and to the sea, where whichever one of us
is the better swimmer
will take over, in case you see a horse
on the back of a man
from where you are
on your boat, looking at the horizon
in the late and dawdling company
of a small but faithful star.


Bob Hicok

Elegy Owed
Copper Canyon Press


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