An egret perched on a cow
watched my uncle ride his horse
in a gallop as he held the reins
with one hand and covered
his glass eye with the other.
The hooves left marks on our land,
imprints of hardened keratin,
with fresh notes of joy in abundance,
harvests and enough water
in the trough to last a century.
But close to the ground,
inside the cracks left by those hooves,
a sense of change when a stranger in uniform
stole my uncle’s stallion and taunted him
by riding the horse in front of him.
Until my uncle’s brother and a friend
crawled up the mountain in grief
and fed his horse a poison.
Then neither he nor the stranger
could gallop through the mountains.