Has the Horse Already Bolted?


When he left, he took it. Strangle-
held, fists white-knuckled, flushed wrists thick
with what tension unbuckled. Those
denim blues of his held in love.

Or what I thought it was. Trouble,
this. Telling differences we’ll
adjust. Adapt to struggle. Tell
the kids miserable’s enough.

What he felt, he locked up. Bengal
tiger of a devil, man-child.
Never tired of wild denial
this fire of mine chided too close.

          When it’s in the quick, how fangs will
          pick to pull out at all costs blows.


Then, the body always knows. Ill-
willed, affection withers. Weakens
egos down, trembles ankles. So,
when Joe would go on about us,

winter fell in my throat. Always
felt cold. Bitter as my gut filled
with doubt. No better than a foal
without a coat, wet-lipped colt touched

by whiplashes of kisses held
out. Offered snow instead of oats.
Load blown, sack sown, an animal
Joe should have known would grow morose.

          Bellicose, path scorched as his belt
          in my grip thundered on him bolts.