21: The Horse Dance

Poem at 21

You write “with” and “against,” the year turns

into a horse tracing canter-pirouettes

on a surface of ember and ash. The code connects

the impossible; too many voices insist that words lying

next to each other may be friends or opposites,

that land lying next to this sea is memory, that foundations

can be kept from falling apart, that the gilt-edged mirror

will reflect the horse’s shadow in a beginning

that does not begin. Record it again

so you hear the perfection of time touch down

on a circle with four hoof-prints, moments in

the rectangular arena, and your aversion to writing

a prefix such as “con” that adds force to the root

idea, as in “conflagration,” in a beginning that does not begin.

I am riding a silver rocking-horse

in a fairy-tale that can’t begin

to describe how Pegasus, born of Demeter, was blinded

but survived a disaster you did not know,

have never known — but fire as it ends and begins

in fire — how his mane shone in refracted light.

— December 31, 2009

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