To Bring the Horse Home
By Julie Bruck
after Philip Larkin
Is all I've wanted past wanting
since I was six and delirious with fever,
an infinitive forged from a night
when giant ladybugs with toothpick
antennae patrolled my wicker nightstand.
Yes, I've been with horses since,
travelled illegally with them in trailers,
known certain landscapes only framed
by alert ears, and with one in particular,
spent whole afternoons with her big jaw
heavy on my shoulder. Still, I hatched
plots to bring a horse to the house, to ride
to school, to pasture one or even three
in the garden, shaded by that decorative
willow, which could have used a purpose.
But there were city bylaws in two languages,
and over the years, a dog, stray cats,
turtles, and many fish. They lived, they died.
It wasn't the same. Fast-forward, I brought
the baby home in a molded bucket seat, but she
lacked difference, attuned as I was, checking
her twenty-four-seven. Now that she's
grown, I'm reduced to walking city parks
with this corrosive envy of mounted police,
though I'm too old for the ropes test,
wouldn’t know what to do with a gun.
If there's a second act, let me live
like the racetrack rat in a small room
up the narrow stairs from the stalls,
the horse shifting comfortably below,
browsing and chewing sweet hay.
A single bed with blanket the color
of factory-sweepings will suffice,
each day shaped to the same arc,
because days can only end when
the lock slides free on the stall's
Dutch door, and I lead the horse in,
then muscle the corroded bolt shut.
That's what days are for: I cannot rest
until the horse comes home.
Paul had Monday off, so we spent the day with his parents and Maddy in Hanover. Since we all like it, we went to Hibachi Buffet Grill, where I had teriyaki noodles and a couple of red bean paste sesame balls. Maddy and I walked to AC Moore while everyone else had buffet desserts, then we went back and drove to Hanover Shoe Farms, where several foals have been born since we were last there and Maddy snuggled the cat Adam played with last time:
We helped Clair and Cinda set up their new computer before we came home, seeing a gorgeous sunset on the way. Since we were still pretty full from lunch, we nibbled sandwiches for dinner while catching up on Super Bowl night's Victoria, plus we watched this week's Supergirl which was too soapy for my taste and Timeless which was pretty enjoyable (historically flawed but it had Ernest Hemingway and Josephine Baker, so all is forgiven).