Jean Esteve

Horseback Ride

I rode on a rented horse over the grassy hummock
where the trees had all been cut down for lumber
so that sunshine was all over the place,
on the gray stumps, on my face,
making me think I was warm
even while clouds huddled in the west plotting a storm.
The horse's name was Gareth, the stableman had said,
a grayish-brown eye-roller who wouldn't be led
no matter how nicely I pronounced his name.
"Gareth, Gareth, Gareth."
He went only where he wanted, all the same.
Thus we spent the whole day on that sunny slope
never moving faster than Gareth's favorite, lazy lope
westward, to keep the nasty clouds in check.
It worked. They dispersed, dampening only the ocean a bit.
After a time, Gareth turned around. He must have become hungry,
although not ravenous, for he walked back slowly
as ever. Nevertheless, the horse-leaser was furious
that we were so late, not even asking how we missed
getting wet. His stable yard was soaked.
And he soaked me, charged me double. But that was okay.
I left him to the responsibility of Gareth's well-being,
then while driving home, I burst into tears for no reason.