Shoeing Death by Janet I. Buck
The horse has iron thighs.
Its knees won’t bend.
Yet manes of gray seem lazy,
facing ice and pounding hail.
Shoe it and it prances off.
I can’t accept it and I should
like foam on waves of ocean acidophilus.
You hand me Grandmother’s pearls
as if their flawed white balls
can fill the shell you’re leaving me.
Father grabs the reins I drop
by setting up the morphine drip,
by whispering “It’s time to go.”
My legs grow heavy pillars then,
refuse to leave the wish cement.
Thinking how my youth could be
a brace around the going wick,
I scream a sonnet in your ear,
rifle through an empty fridge
to find some savior of dessert.
Cheesecake has a greenish lacquer
calling to my useless palms.
Here you sit among the ruins,
a masterpiece of Irish lace
living to the linen’s end.
Here I stand the wrinkled mess.
A willow weeping over dirt.
The bedroom is a burning barn.
You welcome the coming torch
like a long-lost friend—
invite the flame to meet the hay.
Each time I envelope the sheets,
I pull the slumping letter back,
praying time will add a page,
slipstitch of another hour.