by Maggie Blake Bailey

for Ryan Sample

I say, tell me about horses,
Montana horses…

And you say,
I saw one fall down a gully
off a cliff-side trail once.

And I expect a clattering of limbs,
the burning shriek of a horse

suddenly sideways,
hooves sparking against granite.

That you will tell me the mane
streaks away from the body,

that teeth and eyes and
clouds are the same relentless white,

that without obstacle, freefall
hardens ligaments into wire.

Instead you say:
We went back the next day and watched
grizzlies feast on the poor thing.

MAGGIE BLAKE BAILEY has poems published or forthcoming in The San Pedro River ReviewTar RiverTinderbox, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Bury the Lede, is available from Finishing Line Press and at  She has been nominated for The Pushcart and also for The Best of the Net. For more work, please visit

Featured Image: “Cabin Creek” by Deborah Butterfield