cracks inhaling, softening
like kisses. Fingers work it in.
The bridle suspends
from a metal hanger
like a frame or skeleton
where energy is contained.
each of its parts
dismount the snaffle
its double rings too large
for an affianced finger.
the reins loose and dangling
as the legs of prepubescent girls.
As if stuffed with monstrous cabbages,
his hard protuberant belly
traps me against the tackroom wall.
Hands fingering my hair – lovely
auburn – lips seeking, fingers. I
struggle, duck, run into the stall.
My chestnut mare sways
her haunches. Lustrous uncomprehending
eyes. Arms around her neck, I tremble
our hearts beating together.
His footsteps, the stable door
My finger still greasy
with saddlesoap. The smell
of new hay, manure.
The bit, polished steel,
a dulled sterling silences
what I will never speak.
Joan Colby has published five books of poetry: The Atrocity Book, The Lonely Hearts Killers, How the Sky Begins to Fall, The Boundary Waters and Blue Woman Dancing in the Nerve. She has over 800 poems in such periodicals as Poetry, Atlanta Review, Hollins Critic, Portland Review and Barrelhouse. Recipient of a fellowship in literature from the Illinois Arts Council, Joan works as editor of Illinois Racing News, a publication for the Illinois racing and breeding industry and lives on a small horse farm in northern Illinois.