A Vanished Friend


They told me horses play with balls

kick them, chase them

so I gave my horse a white one the size of her thighs

rolled it over the rye towards her

she raised her head in a moment’s surprise

then turned away.

It lay the size of an unwanted moon

inanimate at the edge of the field

while she buried her nose in the tufts and tussocks

for an unlikely partner couched in the clover

weaving through the flower heads:

a Daddy Long Legs caught in the dandelions

skinny legs shifting through the petals

lacy wings lifting, wafting in a rainbow arch.

Her head swung watching its cadence

hoofs twisting following its dance

as it drifts then slides, skims over a knoll

knits through turf to where nettles stand

like dwarf pines erect on a vast plain

with those spindlespun legs sawing through leaves.

She tries to join in with her hefty hoofs

but it soars away, and baffled,

she trembles, thunders through thistle,

veers back, whinnying,

waiting for her vanished friend.

While they tell me horses play with balls.