Dave Seter


This the rider shouts out clamping down

thighs on flanks of a horse all buck and snort,

a bottle rocket approaching in the steep light

of late morning, careening down the fire road.

I whistle to myself: what's this about?

Do psychologists advise riders and equine clients:

alike, confront your fears? But I'm a solitary hiker,

no porter to take up burdens others may dump.

And so I shrug and stand apart, still as air

in a doldrum, accepting how suddenly thunder

can sprout from purple heads blooming or

a horse's nostrils. People die on a dare

each year--one I knew dove for abalone

in freefall from cliffs--to find a darker side--

this is why I prefer to walk alone, without

a steel bit in my mouth, tasting fear.

published in Quiddity Vol. 7 No. 2 (2014)