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The Quiet Jars: New & Selected Poems by Ron Houchin

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Horses and High Water

Houchin, Ron

The first half of December, the earthy waters
stalked up the McMurty fields.
The old manís four horses went to the high corner,
near his house, to stand sad-eyed
and brown as violins.

                             When the water
covered the bellies of his tractor and his truck,
he still did nothing, as if disbelief were a sufficient dam.
Above ground like dough, full of dreadmarks, and the horsesí
sucking hooves, clouds locked into their docks.
The temperature dropped; sky melted toward Christmas.

                                  I gave up looking
out the window.  The freezing rain still caught
in the horsesí hair; ice landed in their lashes.
Each morning there was fresh hay in the highest
part of the lot.  It is in such contrasts I hear 
the caroling of despair.

                              Now, those four horses
have run far from the stable of memory.
The minute hands of snow curried everything
at midnight, saying, Remember,
there is no such thing as lost.  

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