The Mustang Mare

In feathered edges of twilight,
like an old Indian woman near death
seeking solitude, the mustang mare
in a lusterless coat of roan-red,
rib-thin and swayback,
heaves a ragged breath,
leans into an oak tree,
rear leg resting on hoof toe.

Eyes at half-lid, clouded
by darkening shadow, she relives
days long past when unshod feet pounded
full gallop across mountain meadows,
flinging clods and rock skyward,
flared nostrils
inhaling essence of the wild—
manzanita and ponderosa pine,
cougar and bear scat,
and the sweet smell of sweat
from the palomino filly at her flank.

Water grass grows in the creek-bed
hollow where snow-melt pools.
Hooves pressed like molds into clay
imprint the herd’s departure,
as if they paused a moment
to nicker and huff in farewell.

Spirit guides hover,
waiting to walk beside her,
light-footed,
through the gossamer curtain
that conceals the otherworld
from earthly trail.

Songbird serenade
amidst the rustle of leaves,
a lullaby for transition
as earthbound tether s t r e t c h e s,
unwinds—
a single strand
of silver mane
clinging
to manzanita.

© Susan Parker
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s written permission.