April 18 – Star

by Juliana Lightle

The phone rings.

“Star’s dead. There’s blood everywhere.

He’s hanging from the gate by one hoof.

Blood is all over Rosie’s face.

It’s dreadful.”

A tear choked voice.

“You can’t bring D’mitri home.”

D’mitri’s nine.  Star belongs to him.

Shock, tears, disbelief.

Last night Star ran, bucked, reared,

chased around, playing.


The pen’s all pipe, no sharp edges,

nothing harmful, consistently inspected.


D’mitri goes home with me.  He says,

“Nana, I have to see him;

I have to know what happened.”

Slowly, in dread, we walk behind the barn.

Star’s hanging by one hoof in the three inch

space between the gate and fence,

ankle broken.

The blood covered fence, gate, and ground

stare at me.

It’s hot, his body’s stiff.

He must be moved.

Coyotes will come in the night,

drawn by the smell of blood, of death.

The neighbor brings his big red tractor;

a wench pulls Star’s young body free,

gently lays him on the cold, grey,

cement barn floor.

His shining copper coat no longer shines.

D’mitri and I remember bottle feeding him

after Miracle died, teaching him to lead.

We stare at Star’s body in disbelief.

Kindly, the neighbor says,

“He died quick, femoral artery cut by bone,

bled out.”

For hours, Rosie and Cool stand at the spot

where Star died.

They do not even leave to eat alfalfa.

It takes me hours to wash away the blood.

It takes D’mitri ten months to go back to the barn,

to ride Rosie again.


Juliana Lightle writes, raises horses, teaches high school, and wanders the wild on the edge of a canyon in the Panhandle of Texas.  She is also a Board Member of the Story Circle Network.  This poem is from her poetry memoir, ON THE RIM OF WONDER, available on her website or from Amazon.


7 responses to “April 18 – Star

  1. I knew, somehow, where this was leading
    and that it would tug at my ❤️. It did that and more. Excellent piece!


  2. Beautiful and deep, committing me to chills.

  3. Reblogged this on writingontherim and commented:
    I wrote this poem several years ago. It was republished today on One Woman’s Day by the Story Circle Network.

  4. Cryiing as I comment. I can see something like this happening so easily and yet to see that it has is so difficult – for everyone. My mare had her first and only colt early, in the middle of the night thunderstorm, caught between two horse trailers with barely enough room to lie down, much less have a baby. And yet, when they were discovered early the next morning, both were OK. I hesitate to say “fine,” but they did well. But I know that something like your experience was very possible to have happened so your story resonates. That’s been over twenty five years ago, now, and both momma and baby are gone. But never forgotten. Thank you for such a great rendering.

  5. Amazing! Sad. Heartfelt. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Writer Advice Managing Editor, http://www.writeradvice.com
    Author of YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers & Author of TALENT

  6. This too my breath away, Juliana. Your poetic drawing of the scene was spot-on. What a tragedy!

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