When We Were Nine

A poem.


We were recess horses, stamping
saddle oxfords while we neighed,
cantering in circles on the playground.

Our long necks sleek, our manes
plaited smooth, the houndstooth skirts
of our school uniforms fluttering.

At a gallop we jumped lunchboxes
stacked six or seven high, landed
on the far side with a head toss

and one front hoof lifted to
the audience we imagined spellbound
by the skill of these riderless horses,

so graceful in the arena, no less so
when loping off to meet the grooms
standing ready, patient in the carpool line.

Susan Rooke

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