THREE PONIES AT SUNRISE
I’ll snitch sunrise from three ponies.
Their hill and their fescue have disappeared.
Crows are waiting at the edge of their eyes.
An old woman with a rifle is staring at their salt block.
It looks like a city is riding their skins.
It looks like a large orange church has synchronized
their hooves. A giant oak tree walks from their minds.
Everybody helps me roll the land away from the ponies.
It’s how I paint their nerves into the ground.
It’s where I see their dark, neighing throats.
It’s when the tractors rust up and blow away.
I think it looks like a mountain with wheels on the roof.
Mergansers swam toward a driftwood tangle
shallowed off the inlet, near a rotten green paddle boat
for the tourists in the summer. The white-headed male
bobbed the whole body, bowed to its own reflection,
dived, and swam up with a yellow-bellied fish
in its serrated beak. The three females scrambled
across the driftwood, one had a crayfish that it shook
off its bill like a pest made of mud and claws.
April had flubbed the shore with a rainless month
and a couple of silted islands skulked into the sunlight
where speed boats raced in bass tournaments. I watched
the mergansers skittering away, not a bit tamed, survived
the winter hunters that shot at any water bird. They circled
then crossed the lake, and fluttered across the spillway,
specks of hurry and migration.
Clyde Kessler lives in Radford, VA with his wife and son. His work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Visitant, and Sentinel Literary Review. His book, Fiddling at Midnight’s Farmhouse, illustrated by his wife, Kendall, was published in 2017 by Cedar Creek Publishing.