I lay down
By Nancy Denault-Weiss
A quarter hour in and already arrived.
(Where having spent their day?)
Suddenly, a dim, crowded Assateague!
One or two moving ahead. All unbidden.
Nothing for it but to watch.
The dark ones – Morgans ? No riders or reins.
Again with the half-puzzles, waterworld soup,
pings and thuds of my reptile brain.
Sometimes their grassy breath in my face
or splashed seawater (not to mind). Then –
backdrop nonsense – an old Fellini set?
On good nights: talks with my father (years gone).
Comic puns. A triple entendre – clever, that!
or myself, method acting, not so vile or alone.
Infrequently, a Palomino – not a good sign.
Abandonment, grotesquery, gore –
worse: not to be spoken.
What now? Alright, no turning away in dread.
(Once, a one eyed white calliope mare:
a grisly carnival. Still in my head!)
Most nights: strata of subaquatic code
cracked days later while sweeping steps
or feeding the dog – Oh, right, yes!
Waking: quick, grasping – long mirrored hall?
But only a glimpse of the last streaming tail.
(Christ, the far-fetchedness of it all!)
Off, no doubt, getting more dreadful stew
from the rabbit-hole id: crumbs and opals,
tragicomic slop to be parsed and boxed,
a meaning choked out by the exhausted dreamer
(tomorrow, helpless, slogging back for more).
Then – to rise and remember how to seem! For
no release but the end of the run.
The sweetest conflict of the breathing:
asleep – acquiescence to the wild; then
awake – awful duty – letting it go!
Salt mists fading as we toast to fresh horses.
The needing to stay, to stay near shore.
NANCY DENAULT-WEISS lives in Clarence and works as a counselor and psychotherapist . The Assateague reference is to Assateague Island, an island best known for its herds of wild horses.