B ecause the cookie store was only three minutes from my house, and it smelled like heaven. Because the cookies were still warm and the soft, doughy middles and the melted chocolate chips tasted like heaven. Because I didn’t eat them all at once (because my heart might not take that). Because I ate just a tiny piece and saved the rest for later. Because there would be more tears later. Because my horse died that day, and I didn’t see it coming. Because he was given a clean bill of health just two days before. Because that morning he ate all his hay and his timothy pellets with gusto. Because I turned him loose in the round pen and asked him to move in circles around me. Because he was nineteen years old, and he knew the drill. Because his lips were closed tight, his head up like a sail, and he covered the ground with his hovering strides. Because he was strong and beautiful like that. Because the morning was cool and the movement was easy. Because no alarm went off to tell us to stop. Because he hit the side panel and one back leg curled up, and I thought it was broken. Because he fell to the ground and all four legs went limp. Because he was shaking, and I sat by his head and stroked his soft cheek and told him what a good boy he was while he breathed his last breath. Because he’d carried me safely for seventeen years. Because the cowbirds rose from their roost on the rails and circled and spiraled above where he lay. Because I was numb when the woman arrived with a trailer and winches to pick up his body. Because she looked at his handsome fit frame and said, “This isn’t right.” Because she took him away and I don’t know where and I don’t care because it wasn’t him anymore. Because his pen is now empty in a row of pens holding horses. Because my heart now has an emptiness I don’t know how to fill.
I’ve been searching all day for a little piece of heaven.
Because all good horses go to heaven, don’t they?
Author's CommentThe world, with all its splendor and all its heartbreak, gives writers an endless mishmash of material to dig into and pass from hand to hand until some essence is left that inspires words to flow. With my writing, I strive to create little pieces of beauty with words. In this case, the use of anaphora helped me access and process difficult emotions in real time.
Watercolors in the Desk Drawer
by Georgette Unis
In Georgette Unis’ Watercolors in the Desk Drawer, the world is rendered in intricate detail, lush as the pigments on an artist’s palette. Family, nature, politics, and art circumscribe the arc of a life where “time bends / the chronometer” and “leaves do not grow / in the winter soil of philosophies / but rather along the arteries / of unfortunates.” Whether tracking an ancestral immigrant childhood or the results of the most recent election, Unis is attuned to the shifting world, where memories pulled from the desk drawer of recollection reinvent and reinvigorate the landscape.
—Cati Porter, The Body at a Loss, poet, editor and director of Inlandia Institute
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