A Prophecy for the First Horse that Carried Me

by Benjamin Cutler

And I saw, and behold a white horse…
—Book of Revelation 6:2

Conquest followed by red
and black and pale—beasts
of conflict, judgement, and death.
But what of this equine quartet—

why should they care
for the end of days? I ask
because I know nothing
of horses, having ridden only one:

you, a worn mare with a coat
of parched earth. There is a photo,
and even I who know nothing
can see I knew nothing—

something about my bend
of legs and timid posture,
my hands shy and passive
on the reins. I remember

how you would trot and threaten
a canter, how I knew I could not
handle the gallop, how I knew you
could cast me from your back

to break me under hoof or against
some senseless pasture stone.
One can know much when he knows
nothing; there are portents

aplenty. Do you believe
these doomsday steeds will come
at last, and do you wish for their arrival?
Will you join them and find a new cause

to run? If the fire must follow
in your thunder and cloud,
let your herd of flame circle back
to these trampled fields

when my final season has passed—
spines unburdened, necks upon one
another’s crests. And when you, long-
suffering and weary angel, bow

your heaven-heavy head to the earth, graze
the green that rises from such burning.

BENJAMIN CUTLER was raised on a riverbank. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Cold Mountain ReviewPembroke MagazineNoble / Gas QtrlyCumberland River ReviewThe Carolina QuarterlyLongleaf Review, and The Lascaux Review, among many others. In addition, Benjamin is the first-prize winner in the North Carolina Poetry Society (NCPS) 2019 Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love contest and the first-prize winner in the NCPS 2019 Poetry of Witness contest. Benjamin is also a husband, a father of four, and a high-school English and creative writing teacher in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. When he’s not reading, writing, or playing with his children, Benjamin can be found on the creeks and trails of his mountain home. His debut book of poetry, The Geese Who Might be Gods, is available from Main Street Rag (May 2019).

Featured Image: Blue Horses, Franz Marc, 1911

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