Once a week he holds me against him like a child
and I inhale wood and horse and earth, sometimes
sweat (not sharp with the agony of hurry but warm,
like a tree trunk seeping sap on a sunny day); I keep
my eyes closed, as if afraid time will shift like a rocking
boat beneath my feet, and that I will pitch forward
into the sea of my weariness, so clear I can see
the sandy floor with its shifting shoal grass and blue crabs—
and my body, always floating at the edge
where vision and horizon meet, multiplied and ray-
filled, a jellyfish or low hum: If I am very still,
can I sleep in your barn? I ask, awaking as if from a dream
about being a horse in a pasture in spring—
that endless meal—my tail long and lengthening.
Charity Gingerich’s first collection of poems, After June (Green Writers), won the Hopper Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in Arts & Letters, Field, Kenyon Review, North American Review, and Ruminate.