by John Andrews

for Papa

I am tired of shredding my hands
on lead rope, forever pulling
you back up like Midnight,

my first pony, well not mine
but my sister’s. Struck lame,
kicked in the hip by a quarter
horse, didn’t come back

from the field for dinner.
The coffee can of sweet
grain couldn’t call her,

worn halter and leather
lead line couldn’t coax her
to hooves, you told me look away.
If love is watching someone die,

I must not love you. But I can’t
stop the questions like leaves
when fall hits, the yard made

bubble wrap and remember you
rounding up the leaves.
Where are you tonight?
Is the ground at least

soft enough to sleep on?
I can’t walk out beyond
the barn again, can’t find

footing in the shit and mud,
to reach someone broken beyond
repair. I’ve played a round
of tug-o-war with the end.

I’ve read the story, the pond
brown eyes, that say:
gravity finally won. And

once was enough.

[Read more of John Andrew’s poems]

[Check out John’s back porch wisdom here]