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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.