Centaurs

"Centaurs", Brian Fisher. Monotype Print (1/1), 10 x 10 in.
The Ailanthus Altissima, Tree of Heaven, planted by my Grandma Fisher had metamorphosed into a thicket resembling a giant asparagus patch by the time I was born.  My cousin, brother and I had however recognized the trees true equine nature and would each select and snap a brittle steed from the patch and gallop up the creek bank and into the pasture.  While they imagined themselves as cowboys or Indians I knew, I always knew, we were Centaurs.

From “The Centaur” by May Swenson

My forelock swung in my eyes,
my neck arched and I snorted.
I shied and skittered and reared,

stopped and raised my knees,
pawed at the ground and quivered.
My teeth bared as we wheeled

and swished through the dust again.
I was the horse and the rider,
and the leather I slapped to his rump

spanked my own behind.
Doubled, my two hoofs beat
a gallop along the bank,

the wind twanged in my mane,
my mouth squared to the bit.
And yet I sat on my steed

quiet, negligent riding,
my toes standing the stirrups,
my thighs hugging his ribs.
Link to May Swenson’s poem, “The Centaur”.

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