The Horse as the Letter L by Mark Sanders

Of everything written about love, lately I’ve been most interested in its long game. The slow simmer of a stew on the stove. Here’s one by Mark Sanders, truth and care in equal measure.


Photo Courtesy Brian Landis

Mark Sanders

The Horse as the Letter L

Love moves like something righteous and eternal
enveloped in summer’s blanche, air crackling
once sun recedes, and the sky ribboned
is a window pane a shot has pierced, the hole
the horse, that perfect circle of animal fenced by lightning
and the pasture is the thunder of ordinances that summon rain.

Love is that patient creature, wind tearing the mane
and tail, crepe fabric, and the strands are motion and evidence
the foundation and fortress of flesh stands firm.
   Let dirt or sleet welt the horse,
it does not imagine other places, the high spot where a river valley winds
through blind cliffs nor deep wet meadows where it wades,
nor does it remember shale slipping along slopes, when last it fell

and had to lift its bulk, the bit pinching its mouth. It looks forward, always,
at the grass before it, toward the noise it may hear.
It will carry the burden, the clumsy rider; it will trod
warily the stony switchback or woods where what is wild hides
and waits, cleave the tall thick, breeze-bent reeds
as if parting a creek’s current.
Let there always be a horse
to clarify the landscape of love, being what it is and nothing more,
true as oak, true as birds that lift and fall and sing
the one song they know by rote, it does not need to be pronounced
but is.

for Kimberly


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