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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

STORIES ARE MADE OF MISTAKES, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Even the pole bean tendrils sought out and gripped their
Last Line: My dad used to ride this black mare...
Subject(s): Hearts; Poetry & Poets


Even the pole bean tendrils sought out and gripped their frames within six hours
of my setting them.
One of the things that is
breaking my heart is that I can't trust language to express any thanks.
My pole beans, my honeybees, my coyotes, my dog, all my good


The black mare I shouldn't have bought and bought, and once I had, should have
shipped, bucked me, too, the first time I got up.
But God she was a beauty.
I thought if I just rode her I could ride
her down.
Her name was Sara and we kept it at that.

All she wanted to do was run.
Ears back, flat out, nose pushed into the next
I wanted her to learn to walk.


After about a year of chop I turned her uphill on a good gravel road and said,
"OK, you bitch, you want to run?"
I let go her head and gave her
the steel.
I'd never been on a horse so fast.
I've never been on one since.
So fast you couldn't count the beats in the
rhythm of her gait.
But when, after some
miles, she started to flag, I said, "I thought you wanted to run," and dug her
out again.


The pole bean tendrils sought their frames within six hours of my setting them.
They broke my heart.
They gripped.


A patch of sunlight mottled the shade.
Whether she never saw the root that snaked
through the shadow or was just too far in front of herself, I'll never know.
She stumbled and fell.
First on her knees then over.
We rasped together down the gravel road,
black mare on top of me.
We rasped to a halt.
She jumped to her feet.
She stared at me.
I could see the bone in both her
Blood like volunteer firemen beginning to rise to the occasion.


Ten years later, today, I'm riding her.
I keep her reined in most of the time.
She tosses her head, snaps tie-downs.

She dances and whirls, doubles under and rears incessantly.

She makes me the butt of ridicule:
"So, uh, Jim, how old is that mare?"
"She must be twenty now."
"Don't you think it's time she was
Every once in a while I let her run and break my
Anyone watching stops breathing.


If I ever get to heaven and know who I am, I'd like to overhear my daughter tell
a story to her children.
"Sometimes my dad used to ride
this black mare..."

Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org

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