What you fear is a horse.

Shaggy, bay hide smelling

of wet hay and syrupy oats, 

his eyes are ice on a lake

frosted and cracked.  

Horse, I remember you. 

The day before they decided

to put you down, I spread my hands 

on your trembling shoulders

to test my weight: 

your legs folded too easily

and I felt the shame 

of forcing a tired body

closer to earth.  Horse, 

if I had just watched you die

it would have been better.  But no. 

You slipped away at night

a shadow flowing over cold stone

sliding through tall grass.  You shifty

horse, they said you were dead

for sure. I searched anyway

turning over the tall grass.  

That is how I learned

that things disappear in their own way.  

Even today, forests make me think

of your shoulders, falling. 

When I walk, I step carefully, unsure

if I am looking for bones 

or the half-moon slices in the earth:

marks made by something running.