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.