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A Horse Whispers

By Maria Lisa Eastman

I know a woman

who smiles all the time.

Starting slow in her eyes,

it spreads across

her nose and cheeks

then in bright rings

descends to her mouth

sinking clear down deep

where I watch it fuse

with her rich core

made of magma,

blue water and light.

I want to drink her up.

This woman has some troubles.

Another usually walks beside,

holding on,

because she falls often—

down the dark stairs

onto the hot pavement

once, into the car door

when she stepped out hurrying,

eager to touch me

wrapped in my soft chestnut coat.

Her small face

often painted in bruises

is red, purple, black.

I know they hurt

so I brush them carefully

with my whisker lips.

I want to lick them off.

This woman I know

does not speak out loud.

But if you spend a little time

with her you will know

she is fluent,

bursting with a molten language

long forgot by others,

those who love their words.

Words must be delicious.

You can tell because they are spoken

with such mouthwatering and lip-smacking

and they cause such a fuss.

I want to eat them all up.

When the woman I know

walks beside me

I am happy.

She is like me,

filled with unbeaten blood

with each step our kinship

old and storied

wakes anew.

I bow my head as she pulls

thick legs long through the sand

coaxing near-deaf feet to listen

and smiles again, to me, to them.

If, suddenly unbalanced,

she yanks on my lead rope,

I do not mind.

I steady my head

like a rock in my halter

and she does not fall

and she does not fall.

I want to walk with her everywhere.

My name is Finnegan.

I am huge and quiet.

This is my work.

I am Finnegan.

You would be surprised

at all I know.

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