Freezeout Ridge became the place I wed.
Silverwhite, like the horse I rode in on.
Icy scree reminds me now of falling. (Who wouldn’t
fall for a horse like that?) Dappled loins, nostrils
big as pipes. I stole him and he stole me. Before
the snow, we galloped up that mountain
singing hallelujahs, scrabbling over streams,
vine maple turning red like hair
along the shoulder of that mountain (the only
jail my own pathetic dread). That horse knew
where to take me. I let him have his mouth,
reins slack, his back flat and grand.
The trail got lost but he did not. I hung on
for a life that doesn’t die with ice. I chomped
at the bit, sweating hard to melt the snow.
(Who can hold it all at bay?) It isn’t that winter
came and covered up the future. Nor did that horse
run blind and pitch me to the glacial runoff.
I made up a false story fraught with losing
until my horse shook his mane to tell me
the Chewack River’s gone, yes, the one we followed
that September afternoon. But no matter, he says,
the water’s still the same: just different riffles,
another shape. No time for falling. Climb on!
We’ll find the trail that lost itself. We’ll give it back.