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That was the year I worshipped painted horses. Blue
hoof like a shard of sky embedded in the long grass,
ochre tassel of the tail flickering like a streetlight
on the verge of burning out. It was their indifference,
after several decades of God bothering me at odd
hours to confess His name, that I mostly loved:
the aimless rub of violet hindquarters on a fencepost
or a tree. All the hard things of the field seemed to have
flowered. And why confess His name, as if He blamed me
for it? Never did I think to thank whoever painted them—
give me horses, and I’ll thank the horses. The local bees
starved, having spent the summer brushing their barbed
legs through bright chalk on the fences, on the horses,
expecting nectar where the color was and finding none.
I saw the bee-worshippers, who lauded the marriage
of cartography and dance, fall on the field and comb
the horses back to bay and sorrel while they slept
standing like easels in the vast gallery of dawn.
Unpainted, they promised honey in the coming
year. I poured out oats. I planted lavender.



Josh Myers’s poems have appeared in Iron Horse, Passages North, Missouri Review, Copper Nickel, Poetry Northwest, Nashville Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. He received the Atticus Review Prize for Poetry.




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