The New Year Rode in on a Horse by Sean Des Vignes

The new year rode in on a horse.

And, as one could guess, its destination

was midnight. The moon was blocked 

by clouds but there was a light that stars 

could not explain. The grassland

was green to people but grey to the horse. 

It used its eyes to sense danger, 

not to see. With straight shoulders

and relaxed heels the new year went into

its hour. The gravity of its thighs, ass, 

and crotch on the horse’s back 

was relieved with proper breathing. 

But there was another horse behind it. 

My mother was on that horse and she 

had no feet. Coral skinned. Heavy-set.

Water weight. Like nail polish, vaseline 

was painted on her ulcers. A white, 

pathetic linen wrapped around her. 

If only she could call out to her horse, 

it would understand her, would know

to catch up to the new year and trot 

with it, side by side, so they could 

view the edge of the prairie together. 

But her mouth is sideways.

The horse with the new year seemed 

to be faster than my mother’s own, 

but only because her horse was slowing. 

They became an animal length apart; 

that you could fit another horse between 

them. And then it seemed their distance 

became harder to close, the way a stroke 

separates the blood from the blood.

Sean Des Vignes is a writer from Brooklyn, NY of Trindidaian descent. He is an adjunct professor of English at Saint Peters University. His work can be found in Brilliant Corners, Narrative Northeast, Moko Magazine, and more. 

Leave a Reply