MY HORSE DOESN'T LIKE PEOPLE
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)