Before tractors, Ayman plowed fields with his team and made
lewd advances on his daughter-in-law, my grandmother Louise.

Grandpa said he knew a man kicked in the head by a mare,
and attributed my mother’s manic depression on this possibility.

They found Doug’s sister alone, her boot twisted in a stirrup.
Her horse dragged her about the pasture until she was dead.

My sister Angela trusted Tennessee Walkers more than people.
We haven’t had any kind of conversation in nearly twenty years.

Before and after his stroke, Uncle Pat rambled exclusively on
coons, coon dogs and quarter-horses. He spent an inheritance
on barns, vets and blacksmiths.

Dad never asked if I wanted a pony, but I rode Bucky, my
strawberry roan, once or twice. There’s a snapshot of me

in a cowboy hat and six-shooter cap-gun. I didn’t mind,
didn’t cry, when he ran wild, was sold, then broke again.

I’m certain Gayle, my eight-grade girlfriend, intended to kill
off boys with horseback rides, a bucolic summer, a suitor’s
last memory. I hung on for dear life.