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.
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,
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,
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.