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Mother the Stranger

my heart is open country now
low sky on a flat plain

a lone horse splits its hoof
on a stone
hobbles off

*

mountains holding down
the horizon, blocking weather

all that comes down this side
image of rain
we won’t feel

*

bloody light in the canyon
the last fist unfurls

if no one remains to grasp,
pull it up,
what good that prayer

*

red valves pumping, urging
to be no stranger

if I bear my heart as my nation
how is love made
without weapons

*

not a machine, but machine-like
not a lone horse

but who would trade that split hoof
for bit, reins, the hands
behind them

*

once I loved a rancher
who left the ranch for the city

who left the city for war
whose bones make soil
for the desert

*

us, them a history
without names

a storm without cease
without rain
in the heartland

*

script on the stone that split
the hoof: mother the stranger

noun or verb, I ask
says a lone horse,
both

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