I Ride Horses When I’m Sleeping

I ride horses when I’m sleeping…

Horseback riding is one of those things I always wanted to do but never could. As a little girl, my best friend would get off our bus at a horse farm and take vaulting lessons once a week. I watched longingly from the window as she walked toward the barns. Sometimes I went with her and sat to the side, watching but never allowed to participate. My family couldn’t afford for me to ride horses. Once, my friend’s family took me with them on a trail ride at the YMCA and it is one of my favorite memories in the world.

When I think of happiness and freedom, I think of riding a horse.

When we first moved to Tupelo, we were renters, on the lookout for a home to buy. I fell in love with a specific house that I drove past daily. It was out of our price range, but I couldn’t shake my need for it.

Why did I love that house so much?

It backed up to a horse farm.

I could have sat on my couch and watched horses out the big back window. I saw myself sipping coffee, writing in my journal, watching the horses…

We bought a different house. I gave up on the horses.

This month, our theme has been (Re)Plenish. I’m in a hard place as a parent and as a person right now. I’m struggling emotionally and not doing a good job of replenishing myself. Or, rather, my attempts at replenishing myself feel a bit like pouring buckets of water into a black hole. I’m never ever ever gonna fill that sucker up.

One thing I am trying is a class on writing flash fiction. Flash fiction is daunting to me, as are short stories.

In between book projects, this is something I like to do… take writing classes, read books on writing, and – most importantly – write something different. Last year, I took a free poetry writing class through Open Courses. Today, I reread the pieces I wrote during that class, and when I came across this one, I knew I had to share it.

Maybe, one day, I will ride horses while I’m waking…

I ride horses when I’m sleeping.
They are strong dark horses, and I
am long and lean against them,
my body held tight, fingers tangled in
soot mane, black hair,
our hearts both pounding
against the green of graves.

I saw myself dreaming
from a window in the house where shadows lurked.
I closed my eyes tight like hands on leather reigns,
and I pretended not to see
the phantom creatures coming…
bearing down on me.

Now a mother, a lover, a woman,
I open my dark eyes and choose
to saddle fear.
I break free on wild horses,
long and lean against them,
my body held tight, fingers tangled in
soot mane, black hair.

We are racing. We are are flying. We are hauling
battered hope
from ancient graves.

I saw myself dreaming.
I ride horses when I’m sleeping.


*originally published on Middle Places


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