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Ian Rice

Noticing a Pattern on the Tile

My chest heaves to consume
all of the air—
muffled lungs contracting in blackness
like a horse catching up,
but only in the end.

The milieu begins to fray, the horse's eye
hangs low, puddled—

a horse quiet as a river seen only in photographs, yet my blood
is in that river and its scent meanders
for blurred horses running from other blurred horses in the distance.

A figurine wavers.

Saddled by Dust

A horse feeds on the nectar of a muffled
neigh, another at sundown—

their scent of mango wafts
the mattress of blue
lilies and off-white in-between.

Her gaze traces the before, places
covered in the gauze of subsequent nights.

He savors the mango
tongue and calls it good—
whittles gods on rocking horses
with broken necks.

A rusty spatula hangs by snapshots
on the fridge, and from the fridge comes
two fried eggs and a line of pills.

Fishing the Weft

In the remote, there is a channel where
horses graze before a last gallop.

A piano plays for the breeze
nuzzling the screen, softness
in the notes, low in scrubland.

Through a thirty-year baseball game,
he conversed with God—

a tune that was carried past the dugout, held
together by blurs, the faces
layered in TV Guides, that once
cast lures

to truths threadbare.
His corners are now shaded
under the lamp of sport and theatre.

Arisen on the nightstand,
a plot, where a few
coffee rings remain to be shod.

Tracing Glass Cliffs

A white mane merges with the black
braid of another, a drawbridge

that connects without a bridle— silent,
sketched in a bit of notebook to hold
below the seesaw horizon spreading
into fragments. Something

a figurine decides to do: script
memory, knowing of fault

under yellow bands of sky fraught
with a blue smeared sun,
a lagoon gleams, cracked.

From my lips, a shard is taking flight, and rupturing
as a dove in your path.

Trespassing the Borders

Downtown, the cracked plastic
horse waits in front of a store,

Sweetness of the stable
lingers on his hooves,
and fresh air mixes on the palette of his muzzle—
he inhales an idyll, and a herd

is roaming in his eyes as he transpires.
I name him the name of wheat brushing our faces,
a thin stalk teetering by the edge,
looking over the ditch, almost bent, almost.

The last process of light enters—
a mural of red brick and steel and engine
transforming into a piece
of driftwood, a bit to be
fitted in the mouth.

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