by Kaye Roll
There was a horse I wanted once,
An Appaloosa colt, 15 months old
Seen at the National Western Stock Show,
A dapple gray with white spots across his rump.
He knew he was for sale.
He wanted to pick his new owner.
With some people, he stood back,
For others like myself,
He would come over to the fence to nuzzle,
Take me home, please.
How do you tell a 15 month old colt
You have no room for him,
No money to feed him?
Is that when one develops a cold hard heart?
Is that when one learns to say no?
When all one wants to do is
Throw open one’s arms
And shout, Yes!
I will take care of you
Death do us part,
In sunshine, rain, and snow,
We will travel rivers and roads
Through all seasons.
I remember your eyes,
Because I said no,
No, to the experience of
Wrapping my arms
Around your neck,
Of taking you with me.
No vs. yes.
I could only see the cold snowy world
Outside the stockyard barns
The clear light and warmth
Of a summer day,
Lying under a tree
Studying the shifting shapes of clouds
While you grazed in the meadow on wild grasses and thistles,
The bees and the birds and the beaver
Performing their daily activities
With retrained vision
Limited to the practical, as seen by others,
I said, no, instead of yes.
And, as Robert Frost pointed out,
That has made all the difference.
We did not have a life together
But, I still remember how your
Nuzzle felt in its soft searching
And how those brown eyes kept asking,
My heart shrank, becoming
Heavy and cold
As I said, no,
Turned my back,
Only to recall you in detail
Until this day.