Ma’s in the wind-pummeled double-wide
waiting for the retired policemen
to bring their retired police horses
to the ranch. She’s at the window now
describing the rain, the two-horse trailer,
and also, how sometimes she and my stepdad
talk about death for a long time.
How imagining death can make it easier
to live and I agree and say, It’s called die
before you die. What is being delivered
here is a horse who’s had a hard life.
A large quarter horse named Seattle --
a horse with a city name who protected a city,
who was spooked outside the baseball stadium
when a shopping bag wrapped around his leg,
a plastic thing versus a muscle-bound animal
in a busy crowd and a flash accident killed
a man. But then, I wonder, what for the horse?
Never to be ridden, stuck numb in a stall,
lightning bugs torturing the poor blood?
I bet that horse might have wanted to
die before he died. But not yet.
What is being delivered here is release.
Today, his officer-rider is finally retired, too,
with an old badge on the dashboard
and a fine plan to drive all the way to Montana,
where the rider has bought a ranch for his horse,
Seattle. The rider, and his horse, with his city-name,
and his forgiven city-mistakes, are charting
a clear new territory of absolution, and it makes
Ma and me happy. How good it is to love
live things, even when what they’ve done
is terrible, how much we each want to be
the pure exonerated creature, to be turned loose
into our own wide open without a single
harness of sin to stop us.