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

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Something to hold on to

Today the foul and fickle winter weather foiled our freedom to frolic……too much alliteration, yesss.

But I shan’t share the walk I sadly did not take with little Zil today in the gray cold, but rather recall my feelings at the time, almost to the day, that she was a month old.

Little Zil

Little Zil

Here in this picture, she is closer to the 4-month range; unfortunately we weren’t all that great about taking pictures of things, including loved ones, in those days. Thank God for friends with cameras! Myself, I had regressed emotionally to the condition of a child, a teenager in my thoughts. I feel that during bipolar and depressive episodes regression is part of my pattern.

Foals are so much more mindful than humans. Zil spent much of her time unruffled by the turmoil surrounding her; she was concentrating wholly on her experiences: drinking in mother’s warm milk; nibbling delightful grass, flowers, and manure; lifting her spirit at interesting sights, sounds, and smells; and chiefly remaining a very calm little horse, for her mother Tempo was very laid-back at the time herself.

Zil grazing, mindfully

Zil grazing, mindfully

5/15/07:

“Today I had an appointment with the doctor about the headaches (3-5 migraines in a 7-day week). She gave me Lyrica to try, 3 months worth of samples. I had a miniature panic attack in the waiting room. I’ve been a wreck. Trigger: The death of Sam, a fictional TV character–I’m too old to care so much. To be so destroyed. There must be more to it, but all I know is, it’s catalyzed this huge depression, and a song on the radio put my finger on it. I wish I was dead. Not because I hate the world or anyone else, just because of me. I don’t like what/who I am. I hate a lot of aspects of being me. If I were dead, then I would be over. I’d be over myself. There would be no more of this hate, no more apathy. [God, I sound like a teenager (no offense to teens), don’t I? I felt exactly the same way when I was a teen, too.] I know that when I am writing, which I need, I  become even harder for others to live with. So in a way it’s good for everyone else that I’m not writing. But it’s not good for me. If I were to compile a list of all the things I hate about myself then there would be only one logical option: work to change the things. Putting a gun in my mouth & pulling the trigger would make no sense at all.

Little Zil's face

Little Zil’s face

“But changing “things” about myself is not so easy. And I can’t get rid of bad memories, past failures, and so forth. Stress, all this stress. How will I get Ziggy back up from the forty? How bad are Sunflower’s cuts, really? How will I get weight on Emily? We can’t pay our bills. “Changing things” won’t fix any of this, which all would manageable on some level if I didn’t hate myself.

“One good thing in my life: Zil.

“Zil is beautiful, magnificent. I hope nobody has already registered an Arab to the name Zil. Zil is a *Bask great-granddaughter. Did I already mention she’s magnificent? So is her mom, Tempo.”

So it should have been easy at the time that was written to fall back on horses in my time of need, as I had done with plastic ones as a child. Even if when only a thought expressed in childlike language. But it wasn’t. Except for Zil. By then, horses in general had the tendency to generate as much stress as delight in my view of the world and existence in general. To find that it was ZIL who made me happy when nothing else could, is a marvel indeed. This was long before in my rational mind I was even considering Zil as anything more solid than a love of my heart. Unlike all the other foals, she withheld affection, and treated me as a tree or a rock or some other inanimate thing that was in her way at times, and at times not in her way. I had to be okay with that, and I was.

(FYI: Did the Lyrica work for my particular migraines under my particular conditions? No, it did not).

-photos taken by M. Wyller.