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At a break in the forest, he saw a wide lake
frozen white and silent like some distant palazzo.
Nothing but dark necks rising from it.

A hundred black horses, heads studding the surface.

Through the ice he couldn't see their bodies.
As if the cold had taken those completely.

The total stillness. Then the wind, lifting one mane.

Near the lake's edge, some few were caught
where they had risen horribly on the backs
of one another, trying to touch land. Each eye

open wide and stricken with terror.
Now, only the sound of the wind. Their shadows
doubling each darkness onto the ice.

And every head was turned to face the shore.

Jay Deshpande

Love the Stranger
YesYes Books

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