Old Horses Make Whisper
With our pale minds leaning
toward the first few minutes
in the Year of the Horse
we watched last year slip away
through shed doors and little windows—
a dim-eyed groundling
escaping the lifting light.
And with its long-tailed leaving
it took a woman who stepped between two boats
it took foxes on trampolines
and bears walking upright
it took the children of Yakutia
snow-tramping to school
armed with hatchets and wolf fear.
And then it took long-tethered robots
snooking the Black Sea’s floor
for medieval carracks—
stoved holds filled with lost horses, pelts and people.
And it took the Mars rover
climbing Naukluft Plateau of Lower Mount Sharp
humming “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
over and over those friendless, red sands.
And it took a priest of half-believers
and a recipe for reindeer tongue
(though not the tip as it compels one to lie).
And before the new year rushed us on
all paper horns, promise
and barn-sour futures the old year left behind
our badly-healed bones
our torch songs our wander toward muscle and shovel
while somewhere rusted slag loosened from a hill.
A war begat a war.
Trees ignited. Sand glassed.
And five of a newly damned species slept.
Still we rattle on
opening the shut forcing the tight-folded
because it’s early January
and the days to come
like all loose things
stirred up, made bright can only escape
up and out into this wintery air.