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Ponies

Spencer Reece
I remember the ponies in the distance.
I remember you talked of a war, no two wars, a failed marriage--
discretely, without force or grandeur.
This was before they amputated your leg, before the stroke.
You rolled your r’s, spoke of Oxford,
recalled driving in the Quaker ambulance unit in China,
where you saw an oil drum filled with severed limbs.
Pleased to have your approval, I rarely spoke.
You were like a father to me and I was grateful.
I remember the ponies behind the fence, muscular,
breathing, how they worried the grass.
The ponies said: This day astounds us. The field is green.
We love nothing better than space and more space.
Ah, they knew what I needed to know.
They lived in their bodies.
If the ponies wanted to kiss, they kissed.
They moved like the shadows of airplanes.
They knew no hatred, but fear they understood.
The sky was shot clear with blue.
After the picnic, we gathered the tablecloth.
As we left, I could still see the ponies,
crowding one another, free and unbroken.

Poem from The Clerk's Tale, reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Company

Poem from The Clerk's Tale, reprinted with permission of Houghton Mifflin Company

Spencer Reece

by this poet

poem

After my mother and father fight, my father takes my hand and we walk down to the Mississippi where he smokes Camel cigarettes. He flicks his ashes away from me. He rarely says my name. All day on TV, I watch monks in Saigon douse themselves in gasoline and light their saffron robes on fire. When they ignite, they

poem
I was a full-time house sitter. I had no title.
I lived in a farmhouse, on a small hill,
surrounded by 100 acres. All was still.
The fields were in a government program
that paid farmers to abandon them. Perfect.

I overlooked Union Lake, a small lake,
with a small ugly island in the middle--
a sort of mistake,
poem
I am thirty-three and working in an expensive clothier, 
selling suits to men I call "Sir."
These men are muscled, groomed and cropped--
with wives and families that grow exponentially.
Mostly I talk of rep ties and bow ties,
of full-Windsor knots and half-Windsor knots,
of tattersall, French cuff, and English