Photo & Poem: Her Place

A stick pony to start, with a wooden head and twine for a mane. The tiny girl stomped unevenly, imagining hooves at the end of her pudgy legs, her mother’s back turned, hurrying dinner for the men. Later a spring horse that the girl could climb on all by herself, jumping hard up-and-down, the toy’s … Read more

Photo & Poem: Old Dog

A deliberate old dog pacing the yard fence with gray dreadlocks and a stiff stride. A mixed-breed badly constructed, a heavy body on spindly legs, but no longer content to nap. He has worn a path but remains a bit bewildered, not trusting his eyes or ears, his nose intent on the breeze. The distance … Read more

Photo & Poem: As if Love

She declared that she loved her horse as if loving took a sort of noble skill rare to our kind. As if loving a horse was a defiant act that few achieve. Excused from the menial tasks of picking hooves and tending wounds, she claimed an instant of shared breath as the proof of her … Read more

Photo and Poem: Three-Quarter-Ton

  Driving home from the feed store on a back road, easing my foot from the gas pedal, the three-quarter-ton truck coasts slower. Ahead, a teenage girl riding a horse in shorts and a helmet. The tomboy-girl twisted around but dismissed me, only a gray-haired woman in a farm truck. Would she want someone better … Read more

Photo & Poem: Sage Under-hoof

An elder red mare and her rider babysat us as we climbed in and out of ravines, my young horse giddy on the trail, not running but not walking either. Crossing a small pond in leaps, had he ever seen so much unfenced land? His body froze to the shallowest breath, watching a herd of … Read more

Photo & Poem: Words

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” Voicing her anxiety first, was my blouse revealing something more than unconventional taste? Welcoming me back after a long absence, “I suppose that’s real,” she moaned at my unnatural hair, her frown lingering down to my sandals. She repeated her lifelong fear that people would think I didn’t have … Read more

Photo & Poem: Sunset to Dark

Talking with her while I walk the farm, I say look what you’ve done with the new grass. Earth sends a breeze to finger the dandelion fluff balls, a few seeds released. I wonder if she’s forgotten the elm tree, twigs barren of leaves so late in the spring. The growling sound of the four-wheeler … Read more

Photo & Poem: No Gloves

The woman doesn’t make a good first impression. Her hair is dry as straw under a ball cap from Tractor Supply. Wearing a stiff barn coat and men’s muck boots that make a hollow flap as she walks with a limping rhythm, the full bucket bumping her knee each stride. Her hand is thick, nails … Read more

Photo & Poem: Aged-Out

Aged-out with his horse, he said, like a sell-by date in the grocery store. We all stop riding, just a day at a time until we hit to a wall. Surviving cancer knocked the wind out of him, he said. The pain echoed for days and eventually, his body was forced to answer. He came … Read more

Photo & Poem: Breakout

  Our horses are not young, neither are we. We negotiate with winter, bartering against the wind that our horses might have shelter, might have this small farm to hold them. We’re hostage to them, more than they are to us. We make ourselves useful, driving to town to take jobs caring for others to … Read more