A Horse Does Not Want to Be Fedexed

Ange Mlinko

Beauty is a fight to the finish,
though you want to educate
the decorum away. Here,
in the bruised atmosphere
of a tropical storm, we wait
for the rain band to diminish,

considering horses. Your student
had one shipped from Holland.
‘A horse does not want to be Fedexed.’
(Could one apply dressage to text?
Have it perform at one’s command?
Banish felicitous accident?)

*

‘You have to be a perfectionist,’
she had noted. Discipline
is stylish, but there’s a grace
by which your hands displace
the eye of the storm within
the encirclement of my wrist,

and how say that, much less
transmit it? Along the coast,
the tempest is elegant, like something
bred for show jumping
across state lines, almost
– no, really – over distress.

*

The scent of a broken twig
increasing a hundredfold:
the perfume of a living limb
exhaling, at the jagged enjamb-
ment, its last. All told,
the damage caused is as big

as that of any grown tree
striking the edge of the roof,
bouncing on the fence –
tripping off calls to insurance,
prayers to limbs still aloof,
and recognition of mercy.

*

A fight to the finish, ‘sunlight
on the garden’, rain-lacquered,
hurricane-groomed.
The roses gave a start and bloomed
like silly. If we’ve acquired
a taste for drama, an appetite

for tropical depression follows.
– And so we clown.
I saw the fresh wood up; it awes
me to see the parasites and moss
studding the victor’s crown
that brought down the house.