Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Martin Willitts Jr. - Shooting the Field Horse / Nighthawks

Shooting the Field Horse 

I was told to put the work horse down;
it was kindness. It had worked long years
pulling the sun across miles without fail.
It was time, past time, judging from its panting.
The horse knew it too. 

But I could not pull the trigger. 
I had dug the hole, removed the bridle, 
sighted behind the ear still twitching flies.
Grandfather was shouting, shoot.
And I could not do it. 

Second thoughts will do that. 
Make one overthink.
Make contrary commands. 

The world exploded into blood-splatter skies.

The next I knew, I was shoveling. 
I don’t remember in-between. 
There was a cloud of feasting flies;
the last plodding nightfall pulled by a horse.


A fluster of nighthawks spirals away from fall trees
like a shotgun shatter-shot making ink blots in sky. 

If only Death was this clapping sound,
abandonment would be easier. 
We’d pull out of our bodies, 
shredding our skin in tatters.
Our blood would merge with sunsets.

We wait for this ascent all of our lives —
to finally know the secrets beyond death.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He was nominated for 11 Pushcart and 11 Best of the Net awards. He provided his hands-on workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award ; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest.

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