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The Thoroughbred

ISSUE:  Spring 2018

There is, in a nearby field, a retired show horse living out
whatever days it can win, a white horse speckled with brown
flecks. Its limp mane welcomes your hand. On its face,

in the corners of its eyes, a herd of flies gathers like a net
capturing the horse’s head—darker than the spots on its coat,
and moving. The flies won’t leave for good because the horse

has no arms. I consider spending my life swatting flies
from the horse’s head, which it moves from side to side. No, no,
no, no. The horse twitches like a second hand ticks, then tremulous.

A clock doesn’t know what time means. The horse has no words
for yesterday or tomorrow, no words like tear or tear, and if
the horse’s head, shaking left and right, isn’t a kind of knowing,

then it’s me on all fours, wrist-deep in bony grass, mud riveting
my cracked hooves, and the pain you read on my sloping face
isn’t real, far from it, it doesn’t mean anything at all.



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