Fellow Creatures

I pat the horses’ heads as I walk by.
They’re gentle beasts, and friendly; they don’t mind.
The gesture heartens me. I don’t know why.

At first, they did not trust me; they were shy,
suspicious. Maybe I don’t seem the kind
to pat a horse’s head as I go by,

And maybe I am not. I can’t deny
that might not seem a move I’d be inclined
to make toward great dumb brutes, and I know why:

They’re alien; they’re stubborn; they defy
their handlers. They’re not safe to walk behind.
I pat the horses’ heads as I walk by,

Then stop at one, and peer deep in his eye.
There’s sense, I sense, yet not much I can find.
But still, that heartens me. I don’t know why,

Except, a fellow creature’s there that I
can stretch a hand to, ignorant and blind,
that makes me feel a bond as I walk by.
That gesture heartens me. I don’t know why.