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Ellaraine Lockie

Stay away from amusement park rides
country roads and horses
said the neurologist
after the rupture of a disc
Could have been my father dictating
that rivers, convertibles and horses
were too dangerous for his only daughter
Who had to pretend with a stick horse named Trigger

In middle age I have blossomed
in the fiery glow of rebellion
The embers fall like petals surrounding Sadie
Me in neck brace and cowboy boots
She the bridge connecting me
to hallowed ground of my family homestead

Reason says the oatcakes I’ve fed her every summer
account for the whole-heart gift
of submission she grants me
Instinct says she knows age and hard times
had her headed for the dog food factory
And that we were related long before I adopted her
That our ancestors have entwined for generations

Back at the barn the last foal she’ll ever have whinnies
She answers a comfort but another call too
From the open range, clover and wild grasses
We continue her easy gait
Heedless to a red-tailed hawk’s scream
as he circles a prairie dog hole

Below hooves crunch rattlepod
Pound smells of sage, dropseed and manure
out of the soil our grandparents toiled
Sustenance we breathe-in as we move
toward the flames of sunset in front of us
Like sisters following the same trail
Our manes flying free in the prairie breeze

From Wild as in Familiar (Finishing Line Press, 2011).
Used with the author's permission.


Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Ellaraine Lockie grew up in a Montana farm town and writes at her local Starbucks every morning because it feels like one of the friendly coffee shops where she grew up, a place where everyone knew everyone else who came for coffee and camaraderie. Along with publications in the standard journals, Ellaraine's poems have appeared on broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows and cable TV.
Ellaraine serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.


Post New Comment:
Oh Ellaraine, What a marvelous poem--the horse, you, the land, all bigger than one of you could ever be alone. Beautiful story and inspiring.
Posted 05/24/2012 08:46 AM
Donna Pflueger:
Ellaraine, you fed all of my senses - especially my heart. I was reading a story,so vibrant and touching, I didn't want it to end. Thank you!
Posted 05/24/2012 08:37 AM
I love the way Lockie meshes these ideas: that sometimes rebellion is necessary to get what you want, that a horse can be an irreplaceable companion, and how we can be bound to the land we call home. Outstanding poem.
Posted 05/24/2012 07:53 AM
The poem tells a clear and compelling story of many small victories, adding to a kind of freedom. I'm still working on "rattlepod / Pound" Rattlepod's a kind of herb, and Pound, in this context, a horse's gait, I think. . . .
Posted 05/24/2012 07:51 AM
Thank you for this beautiful poem. Horses are heaven-sent.
Posted 05/24/2012 07:49 AM

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