KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Poem: 226 words

A Long Broken Passage

by Tim Hawkins
 

On horseback, at night, winding slowly skyward 
through dry-season wash, amid outcropping boulders, 
past sluggish, latent rattlesnake, hibernacula of lizard, 
stars so near at hand, so crystalline, 
so close to the mountain I can reach up 
and cut my wrists on their jagged contours. 

I feel the warmth of the horse pass through me; 
Our steady exhalations rise as one. 

Not far off a wildcat screams, 
flushing a covey of night-roosting doves. 
A whirlwind, the clatter of hooves on stone, 
and yet my horse remains composed; 
Steadfast, she gathers herself beneath me. 

Sitting alone, above it all, rocking toward the heavens, 
my cold, shaking hand strokes the side of her neck 
as if reaching into a rushing current. 
I imagine that over the next dark ridge 
we will come to a sudden halt, 
face-to-face with a bold white horse 
in the sagebrush-scented moonlight. 

It is a long broken passage back down 
to the land of all things familiar, back down 
to the smell of oats and dust and manure. 

The game birds, the reptiles, the horse and I, 
the stars—we all must die. We know this. 
But since I know so little of wildcats 
or white horses for that matter, 
and dust does not rely on timely arrivals, 
we may tarry for just a while longer 
among the sagebrush and boulders.

 

Tim Hawkins
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is the author of Wanderings at Deadline, his debut collection of poems released in 2012 by Aldrich Press. More than 100 of his poems and fictions have been published in a number of notable print and online venues, including Blueline, Dogzplot, Eclectica, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Literary Bohemian, The Midwest Quarterly, and The Pedestal Magazine, among others. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net (2018), Best Microfiction (the debut issue 2019), and the Pushcart Prize: in 2011, and in 2017 when KYSO Flash nominated his poem Elegy Within Earshot of Howling, which is also reprinted in the 2017 KYSO Flash anthology, A Trembling of Finches.

Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and Latin America, where he has worked as a journalist, technical writer, and teacher in international schools. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Find out more about his writing and read some of his work at: www.timhawkinspoetry.com.

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