The Horse is (Not) Alright

Exiting the roundabout, I crane my neck.
I have to see the horse, traffic be damned.

He stands there in his meadow-like pasture, outwardly indifferent to the traffic.
Selectively nibbling on the verdant grasses and sweet-smelling flowers, he’s alive.

The horse is alright.

How do I know the horse is a he?
He’s strong, muscular, virile, powerful, secure in his solitude.
Those are masculine traits.
Aren’t they?

Another long day, another fretful drive “home.”
Please let him be there.
I only need to see that

The horse is alright.

Exiting the roundabout, I holdĀ  my breath.
Craning my neck, I scan the field.

Nothing.

I risk another look.
Fuck it; if he’s not alright, I’m not alright.

The horse is not alright.

I can’t find him.
Has he given up?

Frustrated and empty from his solitary jaunts,
Today, he doesn’t leave his stall.

His handlers cajole and prod, first sweet talking, now scolding.
You need to get outside, horse. It isn’t good for you us to see you holed up inside all day.
Keeping to yourself.
Why don’t you go outside, seek new grasses and flowers.
And pretend you aren’t still keeping to yourself.

The horse is not alright.

I enter the roundabout with trepidation.
If he’s not there today…
If the horse is not alright…

Exiting the roundabout, my arms tremble on the steering wheel as I turn to look.
He’s there. He’s there.
I exhale a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding,
Dash away tears I didn’t realize I’d been shedding.

And I breathe a sigh of relief,
Of grateful reassurance, because

The horse is alright.

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