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Horses Lying Down in a Grassy Field
by BJ Buckley

At dawn half-waking out of dream
to daydream, at first more still than stones:
red granite boulder piebald with pale
lichens, flint-black menhir, upthrust gilded

by the sun: manes wet, their bodies
sodden from a dark-long rain,
they lie in the flooding field, in the pasture grass
where houndstongue's magenta spikes and the yellow

of tall buttercup have made bright poisonous
inroads, they lie between blue brome and meadow
horsetail, their breath a thickening fog, a mist.
Minnows are already flickering between green stems,

new shallows of the encroaching river, tree
swallows quick black shadows skim bright surfaces
to drink, every rivulet is veined with pollen.
One by one the horses rise and shake, their skins

atremble—muscled currents underneath, each spine
a downward arc towards green. Ordinary hour
of earth: the creek has crossed old boundaries
of bank and fence and will not soon return

to its appointed channel, old world of grasses
into which we all were born, field carrying
the weight of hoof, fin, wing, my footsteps,
self odd cloud adrift in the eyes of roan

or black or buckskin, mudsuck and insect drone
across this blue-green acreage. Ducks, now, teal
and mallard, fanfare their arrival from a distance.
Delicate swerve of swallows questioning the wind—

if something answers and we hear it, if our hearts
clatter within us, loose stones in a rushing
torrent—to be so lucky. To wake in a field
with horses, to rise and to bend towards grass.


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