Early Spring in a Dark Time

Cecilia
your eyes, when open wide as the blue sky,
predict judgement.
At this moment they slump
behind your fringed lids, beneath your flushed face,
and with pacifier resting upon your chest, you sleep,
another exhausted tourist.
Those mares that all your life
hung their weighty faces over the barbed wire
and collected snow on their backs
today gallop thunderous
across the prairie grasses.
The sleeping brush flares red.
My precious, how will I explain
how the earth is planted with death,
prairie-alien, swallowed in concrete, named
for the benignity of time, aimed at the sky?
If I fail
you'll ask, little colt, the suns
of your eyes flaring.
It was not my fault. It was. It was
not. I brought you here.

Returning geese find the river ready,
quibble like an aged couple
over some place to nest.
Quake of ground beneath the horses' hooves.
Wounded from birth,
you are victim,
you are priest.

Pamela Rice Porter was a free-lance writer living in Ulm, Montana when this poem appeared.

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