Bareback

By CECELE ALLEN KRAUS
Posted 7/11/19

A stranger came into my yard on a horse as I stood barefoot with nothing to do. The rider dismounted and I jumped at the chance to ride, to leave my house with four rooms for the six of us,

a …

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Bareback

Posted

A stranger came into my yard on a horse
as I stood barefoot with nothing to do.
The rider dismounted and I jumped
at the chance to ride,
to leave my house
with four rooms for the six of us,

a broken window with cardboard replacing it,
the spaciousness of a scorching day
with no plans except a swim
at the Queen City Pool.
I was eager to leave that tract house
in the nondescript neighborhood that edged up

to the all-black Druid City High School
where on Friday nights Daddy walked us over
to hear the marching band play Chuck Berry
and Bo Diddley rhythms, putting me in mind
of the dark night he took us down
a dirt road in Micaville

to the black Baptist Church
where male quartets sang of heaven and home—
the sound track of his red clay childhood.
Spooked by a girl on his back, the horse bolted
and galloped to the two-lane highway.
Scared stiff, having only ridden

my Grandpapa Allen’s mules,
I shot a glance down the highway and jumped.
Now a fresh scar inches along my collar bone
reminding me of that first scar—
a curvy slash over my left eyebrow,
quite graceful, if you don’t mind its livid red.

The old scar’s color comes back now with age
and that urge to ride an unknown horse
still flares up from time to time.

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