by Hannah Beresford
I combed down a trail, through woven sticky treelings we’d cleared poorly
in daylight hours. Beyond that, straddled the terrain of the driveway—
cleaved beds of spring melt winding black for one another in moon dirt.
I slid the heavy barn door back to wriggle in sideways, to sit in Verne’s stall.
That first summer I lived in the camper at the barn downstate,
I listened to mice run their wheels at night—wire telegrams,
stream viridian-crypted numbers into the webbed rafters.
I play-by-played the days lesson for Verne, logged, in order, the mistakes—
the ways it could have been better and how much it mattered.
Every placed hoof, every lead, every spot, every turn was money.
I thought if he loved me enough, I could balance it out, I thought
that’s how it would be told. The bond that set us apart—
maybe make a movie of it. I never said that part aloud, even to him.
I sat until my night eyes adjusted, my flat tones pinging jittery
in the echo of the barn—until the mice came close enough to touch,
moved in and out of chrome shadows on his bedding,
where, for so long, I could have sworn they weren’t cast at all.
Hannah Beresford, originally of the Helderberg Escarpment of upstate New York, earned her MFA from New York University after spending four years on red dirt as a D1 athlete at Oklahoma State. Her poems are published or forthcoming in; The Adroit Journal, Lambda Literary, The Cimarron Review, The Sycamore Review, and elsewhere. She serves as poetry editor for No Tokens journal.