If there were an open gate…

Zil wants out

If I could find the open gate
I know it would lead to you, Lord.
I know there is an open gate somewhere
but I cannot find one.

All I find are gates that slam
against my nose
at the moment I think I am free,
that there will be something good
to depend on:

I depend…and am lost. I feel
like little Zil
when Sister has the reins and is confused.
Zil doesn’t know what I want
She cannot find the open door and so
she throws her head up
to get the bit off her bars.

She is frustrated
like I am frustrated
and I don’t know where to turn
to get to wherever I am supposed to go.

I don’t understand why You seem silent,
why I must feel so abandoned
as yet another hope is dashed
in the very face of a need I have desperately prayed for.
Have you closed this gate to open another?

I know why I am silent to Zil of late
(though You have provided her for my help)
and I can only trust
that You who are God are not damaged
as I Your creation am damaged,

that there is a design for good
to these slamming doors and gates
just like my hope for an end to my absence from Zil,
which has no apparent meaning
to me or to her. She wants that halter
(which I have not the strength to fasten)

and I want to be led
through an open gate,
not groomed to weather more disaster,
and I know You have the strength,
if You have the will, to save us.

CO-INCIDENTS

SouthSideFeb2012

CO-INCIDENTS                                              (upon Dec. 27, 2011)

“I could crawl between the legs of the wildest horse
Without getting kicked – we knew each other.”

– Edgar Lee Masters, “Willie Metcalf”, Spoon River Anthology

Dignified spirit stilled

Zil holds herself in check at the end of the aisle

the vet unwrapping my hasty pressure dressing

washing clean of stark red

blood the white fetlock

the bone

stitching the rent as if it were silk

 

my beautiful sister so injured

 

the Guest right up in my tears, carrying on

“It’s the horse that I’m sorry for, I’m only sorry for the horse”

expecting I-don’t-know-what of me

she is facing Zil, but I must face her

her Staff worker not minding, but staring, slack-jawed

gaping past my anxious glances

making Zil a spectacle for herself

 

the Guest insistent, drawing

compelling my attention

with words, bulk, force of will (doesn’t know

better, I tell myself, or care—I mustn’t

lose patience with a Guest); I can’t see

Zil; she is behind me alone with the vet

the gawking Staff

ignores my distress, and my gentle suggestion

that they clean a stall, just one

 

leave us in peace!

 

It is a horrible crash, a clatter and shriek

of twisted metal, flecked pink and rust

the livestock panel torn loose, mangled and on the ground

and little Zil in the big Appaloosa’s pen with her,

aggression over between them.

Zil, neck low, looks up, legs splayed, ears

like mirrored paisleys pricked, as I run to her

with her crimsoning sock

 

What have you done!

 

and Zil so good

with the hose and with me underneath her

field-dressing the leg, pushing closed

the parted curtain of flesh

the six-inch gash down the front and across

the fetlock

the exposed cannon bone, the pain

 

Zil oh God Zil

 

with one hand, wrestling

the leg wrap with the other

 

“Staple it! Just staple it together!” the

neighbor admonishes. The clinic

has just informed me the vet is

unavailable.

“Don’t you have a stapler? You know

when I was up pushing cows my gelding

cut his leg real bad and I

just stapled it together and rode him down the mountain”

 

Self-adhesive-wrapped, secure

and royal blue. I hunker stunned

confused; should I

haul her? Should I wait? The blessed vet

arrives, defying her own

unavailability

 

Thank you, God!

 

and hard upon, a Declarer

of declarations of sorry-ness for the horse, which

are so much more important than

the brave mare herself

 

I want to scream!

 

I hate my attitude

The vet finishes her work and leaves

everyone leaves

us in peace and bandaged and alone

and I weep over patient Zil

fix her a stall to heal in

 

over weeks of changed bandages

antibiotics, anti-inflammatories

dissolving stitches that won’t

dissolve, husband on his knees, cutting

and pulling them himself with

toenail clippers

swelling, poultices, therapy

 

My sister will bear the scar forever

without bitterness.

Zil and Mesa Verde

Today's frolic: Spring is coming!

Today’s frolic: Spring is coming!

Scar - 1 year later

Scar – 1 year later

Not too bad now, really

Not too bad now, really

– horsebackwriter, 3/10/13