As his plane sank—men, apples, and guns—
to a seabed rich with oysters, their pearls were crushed
to milk beneath the heavy body.
Back in the abandoned hollow it was
hardly improbable no person had passed by or heard
how the young man,
one day, enlisted and left.
Under the current of days and moon change,
his inherited horses distressed
in the field unmown—
not ridden or oated—a cur tormented
their unshod hooves.
In summer, bees nestled
in their clotted manes while they brayed,
no longer much like plough horses.
The wheat-plated hills sent up
their animal pleas—as to a jury
ten men deep.
The gone farmer begged
for their relief in permanence
from famine, tick, and welt.
So his god broke
the fence at each gray rotted post.
His horses were never attended again.
- Julia Heney (from Devil's Lake)