The blustery wind of an exhale impales my face.
It is the murmur of a horse, calling me to attention. I do not respond.
Instead I remain curled up here, amidst these soggy shavings.
Might someone cover me in bales of hay? A deafening weight, rendering me still.
Wheel me along as you make your daily rounds—throwing grain, filling water buckets. Whistling.
Cocoons of a rugged sort seem most secure.
I never disrupt the stable hand.
The child within reminds me of something true, there in the vastness of a Kentucky field.
Essence recalls shoving a hand through barbed wire, offering an old gelding a fistful of grass. Peering into the eye of the animal I saw myself, and matters were not so complicated.
Freedom hovers just outside this stall door.
In too-loose blue jeans I step into the sun, not at all dressed for the occasion.
I reach for the gelding that is my own. His hoof to my ankle serves as a searing declaration.
Rope burn incites a bloody palm, and I inspect the leakage. His pounding hooves shrink further away, orchestrating a distant lull.
In mind’s eye I see the horse from my childhood.
He greets me through the barbed wire, exhales and calls me to stand.
Partial emergence isn’t an option.
The animal inside,
as well as the beast who mirrors me
demands a full reveal.