The white horses by the lake lift their heads
to see whose feet make a plodding tattoo
on the road: mine, dear white horses:
I’m advancing a hypothesis that I can run,
even as my years advance, adding
evidence to the brief against
my ineluctable decline.

White horses, gleaming across the damp,
across riparian grasses and untidy trees—
dear pearl of the sky, with belled canopy
and sheen, I stop to take a photograph
of the horses, using the rule of thirds to frame it—
more a rule of quarters, to capture more sky—
I love you more even than white horses
in the rain, constant but not somehow
insistent, beading my hair and needling

my shirt. Birds in transit, if these were my waters,
I could name you; still, I watch you move
from ground to sky, the cloudy corridors
and vestibules for your traverse, and
watching you, for once the world feels
reasonable, knit of many skeins but
of similar weights, as you purl

the cumulonimbus, drawing the sky
nearer, though only when I half-say it,
turning an idea of the unreachable
familiar. Your gray bellies mirror the crowns
of the oaks and alder, and in your unseen
fingers combing the leaves, I see
that you too are stirred by something
invisible, the only evidence being that drift,
like the little breath of cold air that seeps in
around the edges of an old window:
the soft inhalation of a mover, I think,
for no reason except I like it, a name
for that breath other than equations
someone has devised to describe it,

dear space I hold open against all evidence:
the ones who have passed before me
are nowhere to be seen, I hear no trace
of their speech, no matter how I figure
what is above me: trees not yet aflame,
your blossom just finished, I won’t
be here in autumn when the cold
will set color in your leaves, fire
that burns but does not consume:
and thus I won’t hear draw not nigh hither,
put off thy shoes, though I am always
prepared for a thing to be holy.


Copyright © 2021 by Lisa Bickmore. This poem appeared in Blossom as the Cliff Rose: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild (Torrey House Press, 2021). Used with permission of the author.