Updated: Apr 1
Sometimes the Sunny Sky
doesn’t own me. Sometimes some horses
whip up a grey storm, all mane and tail and sinew, and always my mother
enters my mind, reminds me she owns my memories. Sometimes her pain gets in the way. It hands me a quilt,
a pair of latex gloves, says don’t forget me. Anymore, I talk to crows and try hard to understand paranoia. At times I pretend
I live in paradise, and Mother’s specter can’t touch me. At times, I’m the stung flesh, the hangover, the Bloody Mary
on the plane to London. Sometimes the telephone’s earsplitting knife makes my memories bleed.
Often sunflowers tell me this poem isn’t another poem about my mother.
Always the mountains feel like god’s bones under my feet, the whistling air through the passes Her way of keeping me from falling asleep.
She asks me to show my work, dust under everything, feed the horses. Sometimes the sunny day
hands me a pass, says I know what you’re going through, says, here, take this horse and this trail, and don’t come back until you’re done.
The Horses Have Their Heaven and I, My Habits
One night, to keep the peace, I walked many miles
through midnight snow to my sleeping home.
The horses dream beneath their blankets. Smell of oats
and manure and straw, hanging in the air.
One night, I kept the company of laden trees
and silent snow.
What did living someone else’s life matter
while I floated between the cold stars?
When warnings warrant worry, I do not fail.
My half-nakedness is a sign and a wonder
amid the grain bags where mice make a home.
Before our matter filled with snowdrift. We were unafraid
before our matter filled with warnings.
To be touched by God is to walk knee-deep
alone in silent drift after midnight, for miles.
To be touched by God is like filling a well.
It takes a week of midnights.
The horses when touched, quiver.
When the cherries taste like blood does
in the sweetest of dreams.
When the cherries taste of
eternity, of God.
There were contingencies.
There were downed trees, snow pristine.
There were travel maps and there was terror.
One night I left you because you would not follow me
in the way a horse does, after its rider falls.
When pity rubs up against reticence, the snow swirls
around the barn.
The horses nuzzle the dark hand of night,
waiting for my return.
Ronda Piszk Broatch is the author of Chaos Theory for Beginners (MoonPath Press, 2023), and Lake of Fallen Constellations (MoonPath Press). She is the recipient of an Artist Trust GAP Grant. Ronda’s journal publications include Fugue, Blackbird, 2River, Sycamore Review, Missouri Review, Palette Poetry, and NPR News / KUOW’s All Things Considered. She is a graduate student working toward her MFA at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop.