I have never known your galloping heart,
sunbaked, hardened as clay and turf.
Here is my hand, soft on your soft breast,
a lock of your mane held tight in the field.
Should I fear your sharp hooves—the way
you rear up, fold your long bones, and shatter
the tallgrass to rivulets, rip the prairie of abundant
flowering? Listen, how the lark calls your name—
first in an intake of breath, then a refrain.
See the wild rose, the spotted beetle on a stalk
of dusty ochre. A covey of quail darts
between your forelegs, your face nuzzles mine—
the flowers, the grasshopper, the low slant
of light, a crescent moon scything the sky.


Dale Champlin, an Oregon poet and artist, has poems in The Opiate, Timberline, Pif, and many other journals. Editor of /pãn| dé | mïk/ 2020: An Anthology of Pandemic Poems, Dale has three poetry collections: The Barbie Diaries, Callie Comes of Age, and Isadora.