Talk To Me of Horses

Talk to me of horses
the young man says
thin locks of blonde matted
on a sweaty brow, flashes of blue
that fade as eyes succumb
to weariness, the constant
whoosh, whoosh of respirator.

Talk to me of horses:
the world is losing its grip
and I care not about
the weather or car mechanics,
but I dream of horses
and I am feeling so emotional –
help me understand.

So, I come daily to his bedside
wait for moments of lucidity
ponder the implications
of his questions, wrestle with
my own inadequacies –
I am merely student here.

We discuss horses –
the power of their bodies
their beauty and grace
their role throughout history –
decide they are ferrymen
transporting souls across worlds –
an explanation that satisfies, then…

I am seeing things, he strains
embarrassed even in these final hours
to describe what seems inconceivable,
between sleep and awake, figures
grey and frightening hover over
my bed like body snatchers….

A chill runs over me, as if icy
fingers have caressed my skin
and I shudder despite myself
scramble to maintain calm
wonder aloud if it is not just fear
projecting grey into light
clouding his vision.

I missed his passing the next day
arriving to find his mother waiting
He left you a message,” her eyes
quizzical, “says that you were right
about the visions; there was nothing to fear”

I smile through the grief –
ever the teacher that one
now dead at twenty-one

“Oh, and one more thing”, she adds “
“Could you talk to me of horses?”

(Talk to Me of Horses first appeared her in April 2018. This version has been edited slightly. Image my own.)

Talk To Me Of Horses

Talk to me of horses,
the young man says,
thin locks of blonde matted
on a sweaty brow, flashes of blue
that fade as eyes succumb
to weariness, the constant
whoosh, whoosh of respirator.

Talk to me of horses;
the world is losing its grip
and I have no cares for

the weather or car mechanics,
but I dream of horses
and I am feeling so emotional,
help me understand.

So I come to his bedside,
wait for moments of lucidity
ponder the implications
of his questions, wrestle with
my own inadequacies –
I am merely student here.

And we discuss horses –
the power of their bodies,
their beauty and grace,
their relationship to people –
decide they are ferrymen
transporting souls across worlds –
an explanation that satisfies, then

I am seeing things, he strains
embarrassed even in these final hours
to describe what seems inconceivable –
between sleep and awake – figures grey

and frightening that hover
over my bed like body snatchers…

A chills runs over me, as if icy
fingers have caressed my skin,
and I shudder despite myself,
scramble to maintain calm,
wonder aloud if it is not just fear
projecting grey into light –
clouding his vision.

My timing is off the next day,
arrive too late to see him pass,
find his mother waiting to receive me,
with a message from her son, my kin,
says that it makes no sense to her,
but he assured her I’d understand.

“You were right about the visions,”
he’d said; “there was nothing to fear.”

I smile through my sorrow –
ever the teacher that one,
now dead at twenty-one –

“Oh, and one more thing – could you
talk to me of horses.”

(Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo is to write about the mysterious and magical.  This poem is dedicated to my cousin Tyler, whose aspirations were to be a physicist, but for whom life had another fate.  He taught me so much.)

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