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Thursday, June 02, 2016


by T R Poulson

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Crowded around the gleaming
convention center, protestors light flames
and collect bottles, in piles

as the candidate inside talks and shouts
about how much he loves coal mines
and beauty salons, the people of New Mexico

and dollars donated to tall towers.
Outside, the haze forms leering ghosts
as the protestors sway and swarm.

The mounted police appear, helpless
against the storm, and then the renegades,
passionate as the politician they hate,

single out one of the horses, a dark bay
with an upside down white heart
beneath his forelock.  Later, we learn

his name is Stryker.  I once bought
a horse, from a woman who’d rescued him
from the track and tried to love him,

but when her husband found her
wrapped in his best friend’s arms
he took revenge, every night

by flinging rocks at her thoroughbred.
At least this is the story I heard
and believed, because when I bent down

to pick up a dropped brush or carrot,
he would tremble like cornered prey.
So, when I heard about Stryker,

and the mob of haters, snarling
like lions, who reached out to take
bottles and rocks to hurl, hard as fists,

at at him until he fell down,
his cannon broken as a politician’s
promise, the vet finally able

to penetrate the sea of humans
and prick his damp, dark neck
with that final, merciful injection,

I wanted to punch those protestors
in the face.  Except, that Stryker’s leg
was never broken, he wasn’t euthanized,
and nobody knows why he fell.


T R Poulson lives in East Palo Alto, California, and takes writing courses through Stanford’s continuing studies program.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.  Her work has appeared in Verdad, The Raintown Review, The Meadow, Trajectory, and Alehouse.