Back 40: Gratitude

I’m driving the long way home.
Meandering along a backroad meadow
where I’ve stalled to breathe
and watch the horses play.
Let their blood and flesh, grazing
knee-deep in fireworks of wildflowers,
lift me.

Why do I say “play?”
Horses I’ve known up close
shudder and twitch with nervous alert.

Poor brutes,
fenced to boredom, plagued
with flies, thistles, and thirst.

And yet they do play.
They step toward me
shyly, as if to welcome me.
As if to ask what news I might bring.
And I answer by stroking their necks.
Resting a hand in the softness
just above the nostrils.
Where they inhale my gratitude.

And graciously stand with me.
As if to confirm the world’s possibilities.
Foremost of which, despite our separate hardships,
is the goodness of this day.

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