& God sends a colt. The colt’s mane flows
like a river as it gallops wild through acres
of grassland. & then God commands: build
a saddle, toughen the leathers & smith the stirrups
& buckles. Secure the rigging, puncture
the cinch. From solid ivory, carve a horn whiter
than the oblivion behind closed eyes.
Lug the saddle to the post outside the corral.
& when that’s done, the colt breaks through
pasture & into the miles of woods, weaving
between trees as if to display its & nimbleness.
& the colt heeds no call, just runs & runs.
& then God chooses silence as His answer.
God chooses a butterfly, deep crimson
& erratic, to tend the excitable breeze.
No amount of waiting makes the foal submit,
nor breaks him. When the sun breathes its last
sigh over distant mountains, when like a seraphim
the woman comes from the cottage
to the hitching post with hardtack and coffee
then guides herself back by candlelight,
the colt does not buckle. When the coyote
lurches like a drunkard through the field
& past the corral, when the fireflies retire
to scrub pine. When the sun tosses out its red anger
& then its blinding yellow ache. The colt
returns from the woods, gallops through pasture,
approaches & retreats & approaches
& rears & whinnies, unrelenting to stillness,
brays like unyielding rain. Always there is
rope, but because no scripture says to tie
a loop, because God makes no command
to whip the lariat & noose the colt’s neck,
because God chooses moths to gather
like parishioners & sedge grasses to consecrate
the fields, because God chooses silence…
Now the coyote eats a chicken. At twilight,
in the cottage windows, candles flicker & dim.
The colt grows to stallion & thunders through
the field & dust rises in the horizon. In every horizon.
& if it matters to God, still He chooses to speak
in symbol. If He is speaking. If He notices
the stallion dreaming of its restless yearling hooves.
If He is even watching. If He is there at all.