by Diane Glancy
Mid July, Texas
In the corner of the pasture
in the shade of the tree
the horse waits by his bowl.
It was 105° in the afternoon.
By early evening, it still must be 100°.
The horse has rolled in the dust.
His coat spotted with dirt from the field
where he walks all day eating stubbles of dry grass.
The cicadas drone their noise to summer
scraping legs together as if to get rid of the heat.
The birds flock to their water bowl I set by the house.
In the storage shed I ladle sweet feed
into a bucket I carry to the horse.
He waits in the corner of the pasture grumbling.
He is tired of the flies that surround him.
He is tired of the heat.
I tell him I will pray to the God of temperatures
who is busy overseeing matters of upheaval, war and civil unrest.
He may have neglected coolant.
He may say he is not responsible.
Whatever I ask
I know his reasons remain his own.
Two Spirals on the Canyon Wall
Often it was about the sea. The merfolk and other mashups that swim for those
on ships to look down in the water upon. The aberrations that don’t belong. Of
different parts stitched together. Columbus saw them on his voyage. Shakespeare
in his imagination. Pliny the Elder who knows where he was. Sand crabs surely
would eat them. Maybe octopi. The mermaids fled the Spanish Conquistadors.
They left stories of geezer waves that washed onshore and left them stranded.
The battering winds blowing birds from cottonwoods and mesquite. The
mermaids and their side-mates. Little pieces of scales flicked off for wave-lines
on the water of the Gulf.
The tin roof of the shed.
The wind got into and rattled.
I heard in the distance.
Pine trees dropped their cones.
The sycamore and shagbark hickory their nuts.
The whirlwind spread the sky.
The sun flattened on the edge of the hills.
The heavens are fiercer than imagined.
In an old story the sun gave birth to birds with wings that raked the fields.
Out across the pasture the sound of a tractor.
The coils of dust.
I took the bicycle pump to the sun.
Inflated again in the sky.
If We Could but Lightly Travel
Wrangler jeans, chaps, pearl-snap shirt, kerchief, hat,
hat band, square-toed cowboy boots, spurs, socks.
Saddle. Saddle blanket. Stirrup. Cinch. Bridle. Rein.
Lasso. Unpaid bill at Ulysses Bit & Spur. Haybale.
Liniment. Truck. Horse trailer—
“In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second
chariot black horses; and in the third chariot white
horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses”—
Zechariah 6:2-3 KJV—
Note: All four poems will appear in Psalm to Whom(e), forthcoming October 2023 from Turtle Point Press.
Diane Glancy is professor emerita at Macalester College. Her latest books are “Island of the Innocent, a Consideration of the Book of Job” and “A Line of Driftwood, the Ada Blackjack Story” published in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, she published “Home Is the Road, Wandering the Land, Shaping the Spirit.” In 2023 she edited an anthology, “Unpapered, Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging.” Glancy also has a chapter, “Outsider Indian,” in the forthcoming anthology from Routledge, “Decentered Playwriting.” Glancy lives in North Central Texas on land where many tribes camped, Apache, Comanche, Wichita, Waco, Kiowa. The migratory aspect of the land is evident in her writing. Her other books and awards are on her website, www.dianeglancy.com.