In the first bright slew of laughter and bedclothes
we hear them, and cars slowing to pass,
the drifting talk of their riders.
They clop through gathering dark
as lights come on and the baby kicks and dreams
inside you. Hooves break the skin of our sleep,
wake us to green shoots
or rusted leaves, to shoe prints in early frost,
a puddled road and soft scatterings.
The boy grows tall and oversleeps,
as we lie tangled or back to back,
while the phone brings news
of a slipping away, a collapse
into nearly nothing. Blossom glows
and is blown to blizzard, blackbirds return
to build in clematis. But always,
we hear horses, though we never know
their barrelled flanks, the sway
and tilt of a saddled back,
as they trot through the days
of promise, arrival, exit.
A version of this poem was first Published in The Ver Prize Anthology, 2014.