Back in 2007, a dear friend entrusted us with the care of her family’s two horses while they went on a year long adventure.
This is the poet Lisa Allen Ortiz. Her latest book of poems Guide to the Exhibit – is not to be missed.
We’d just brought to the ranch a horse from the track. That horse, “My Cheatin’ Heart” aka Hank by Kentucky stallion Broken Vow became one of the great loves in my son’s life. He was a gift from our friend Jeanne Shand.
Lisa was inspired after meeting Hank to write this poem. The poem haunted me and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I couldn’t figure out how this arrangement of words could bring tears to my eyes and chills to my skin each time I read it.
I sat down to journal on why the poem affected me so deeply – and what started to roll out from my pen was a story.
Here’s Lisa’s poem:
The way the heart is wrapped in blankets
and the world fell; Eden’s long gone
the remnant a weedy lawn at our ankles,
a gown we’ve removed in tatters, a dream we decide
until a horse appears––
not far away in a field
not faded or rusted or ancient. This horse
was coddled in stalls, kept from the eyes of mortals
hidden really like God,
something they say can’t exist––
muscled with silk, glitter-boned,
exaltation-eyed, prairie lightning,
and they call that a star or a blaze.
Oh, reach in your pocket for sugar
an apple, a handful of oats.
Open your palm
and all that you’ve held,
the way you’ve asked for forgiveness
turns out redemption is this:
an animal neck that arches
untamed breath on your wrist.
Lisa Allen Ortiz, April 2007