"The Dreaming Horses"  Franz Marc

Figures in Darkness

I wake in the middle of the night.
My neighbor's horses have jumped
the barbed wire that divides us
and like shadows laid across sleep
are breaking the crust of the snow
with their great hooves. Tomorrow
I will see the trail they opened
to the country road where one of them,
the mare with the hourglass blaze,
is hit by a drunken driver. I hear
her bones splinter, I hear her die.
From the window I can see the truck
still yawing on glare ice, see it
fishtail into the ditch, the beam
of one headlight cast into the sky:
the night seems all blood and light.
Perhaps it is only a dream. I go back
to bed thinking about the friend
who days before he killed himself
told of once canoeing a dark river
until he struck the phosphorescence
of a bloated sheep—like a mad cloud
to color the weather of his waking.

Robley Wilson
Copyright 2001
Reprinted from The Kenyon Review

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