Avatar Review

Steve Meador

Near-Horse Experience

The prison was less than a mile
from our home,
a distance mostly swamp,
a shallowness many men chose
to cross rather than sleep another night
inside. Our front porch was the first stop,
a respite with familiar words
from the far end of a rifle barrel,
"Haul your ass down that road or get shot!"

The gun never had to fire.
There were no bloody drops
for the hounds to snort.

I never saw any convicts lurking
in the bug-filled nights,
only a white horse
more perfect than Lone Ranger's Silver
or Roy Roger's Trigger.
He nickered and sputtered softly,
nuzzled the frame
of the dining room window
which separated him from the apples
on the oak table.

I raised the Venetian blind,
the horse unafraid of the clattering slats,
or the lifting screen as it screeched
in its tracks.
"Haul your ass down that road or get shot!"
A light flicked on and the little black hole
at the end of the barrel
was pointed at me.

The horse,
its velvet muzzle gifting a warm breath
of fresh-cut grass,
was gone.
Hanging in the blackness beyond the window
was only the smell of rotting swamp,
the sounds of frogs and crickets.

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