Jim Trainer

Rocking Horse Stables

In Jason Woolery, National Poetry Month, Poetry on April 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Sitting in the room
where her grandmother died
She said to me
“Gramma must have been ready.
I can’t feel her presence here
at all.
The house seems so…
Nodding, I thought to myself—
Might have even said—
When a giant dies
The cave always feels empty.
Doesn’t matter how big it was
When they lived in it.
Or how small.
She looked up
at the framed photo on the wall,
Color faded
by years
of sunlight
Beaming full upon it
through the window
across the room.
“That’s my great-grandma”
She said to me.
“I know that smug smile”
I told her.
She laughed out loud
and burst into tears
My seeing her sob
gave her grief life.
Her loss grew fingers—
Bruise-purple as death,
Liquid-warm as blood,
Going for the throat.
I swallowed hard,
Cried tears of my own,
Held her hand
as we gazed
on the face of a woman
Whose life is long over
Whose smile yet lives
On the lips of the girl
Sitting beside me
Suffering in salty silence.

She told me about
her grandpa’s workshop,
How it always smelled
of hot metal
and fresh sawdust.
We talked about
Rocking Horse Stables,
Manes made of off-white yarn
and custom hand-tooled leather saddles.

After the funeral was over
and the tears were all dried—
I fell asleep and dreamed
that everyone I had ever loved
And lost
Had gathered in a stable
filled with wooden rocking horses.
Each picked their own horse,
Sat on saddles custom-made
and one-of-a-kind,
placed ghost feet on wooden runners,
wrapped arms around wooden necks,
braided fingers delicately
among the strands of mane,
held on tightly to off-white yarn.
And when all were mounted
Safe and secure
They were ready.
The gate of the rocking horse stable
And my loves flew away
In rainbows like parakeet feathers
Into the blurred watercolor lines
Of their last sunset,
Each one riding his chosen horse—
Pegasus with wooden rockers for wings—
And gone from me
Leaving behind
Fading hints of memory
That smell of hot metal
And fresh sawdust.


by Jason Woolery


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