The Fence of Absolute No
We had gone there for something to see,
the horses nearby whose only schedule
was to grind their food.
When it looked at me—what was it?
I wanted to say it was angry or pissed
at our intrusion into the morning,
but who can tell what horses feel.
So I found a coaxing voice
from a recent repertoire: “Say hello:
hello.” I am here in greeting,
to bridge the ontologies with dumb manners,
melancholy victories added up from the least distance.
The equine message only sends from nose to nose,
or maybe, I was hoping, from nose to hand,
if were we even permitted to touch
through such small vanities of intimacy.
The second point to be gained
was forgiveness. Not unusual my asking,
but here articulated by an electric fence.
Was it finally the universe speaking
not in a mismashed, untranslated dance
but finally in sickly, dental clarity,
up my arm and out my mouth—