The Word Is Not the Thing

Watching my fingers flex across the paper,
I split into writer and reader. Part of me
balks at flaws, part of me flicks
the driving whip--trot on.

And I'm in the jog cart driving my horse
down a dirt road on the farm in Buxton.
Horse and human focus on forward movement,
no halt on the paved road, the risk of drivers

with too many horses, gas powered,
instead of a sleek bay gelding who feels
each twitch of my fingers telegraphed
to the bit in his mouth. Horse and human

share the air, birds muttering as we pass,
the tempo of hoofbeats, whir of wheels
on gravel, the sound of a pen skittering
on the page. Reader, can you hear it?

If you've never driven a trotting horse,
you have only the clip clop of syllables,
your harness to the fine rhythm of his gait.
I sense in the reins any stress in his neck,

pure animal to animal, we trot on,
not much talk, just--easy now, walk, whoa.

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