Another Snippetizer

Thank you for your kind response, Dear Readers, to the first excerpt I posted from my lyric essay last time. By popular demand (Cupcake, David), I’m posting another pony-sized segment. This one is about my noticing horses for the first time. It was at the Reno Rodeo Parade in June, 1970:

It was the June I turned four. I remember being transfixed by the flags, the marching bands, the drum majorettes twirling and tossing their shining batons. Then came the horses.

I suppose they were ridden, probably by ropers and trail riders and rodeo princesses. But what I saw were the horses—gold, black, dark red, spotted—and gleaming. The sharp brightness of the horses’ coats was matched by the sharp sounds they made, every jogged step punctuated by a hard clack as each steel-shod hoof met the street. The rhythms of the horses’ strides meshed with each other and unmatched, cadent and cacophonous. I listened, smelled the horses’ salty sweat, and watched their elastic bodies arch and stretch. I pulled on my mother’s hand, looked up into her face, and quietly spoke: I want one of those.

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NaPoWriMo Day…Oh, who am I kidding?

So instead of writing poems the last few days, I’ve been working on a lyric essay project. I started it back in January, with the goal of building up a book-length body of poemy prose on the topic of adoption. As part of that project, I wrote some material about horses. Now, I’m shaping and adding to that material in order to fulfill a related goal, of having an excerpt ready to send out to journals by May 1. Here’s a little excerpt of that excerpt:

***

The places Stormy and Poco carried me to—the places on the edge of Reno where a person could ride a horse—were mostly broken places. Broken trail, or trails leading to places broken from having trails leading to them. The trails were power line roads, maintenance roads along irrigation ditches, dirt access tracks leading to small reservoirs or cattle-trampled springs that fed the irrigation ditches. Burned-out rangeland and fire breaks. They were rutted and rocky off-road roads, roads leading to the shot-up shooting ranges out in the sage. Always lots of rocks, always shattered glass. Sometimes, snakes.