Whenever My Son Sees Horses

Photograph by Jose Padua
Whenever my son sees horses by the side
of the highway I wonder what it would
be like to ride them. To feel tall with
the horse’s added height and run faster
than I ever could on my own. I wonder
what it would be like to pilot an airplane,
rising higher and higher through the
atmosphere until the details of the ground
grow less vivid and its enormity a concept
I can almost grasp with the parts of my mind
that stretch and fold like arms. Whenever
my son sees horses I think of all the places
I’ve never been, beautiful distant cities,
long train rides over snow-capped mountains
where here and there people live while
tending warm fires and hot pots of soup
and where bread has no taste until it reaches
one’s belly and butter is an unhurried feeling
in one’s veins. And the brown and black horses
standing against a blue background of sky
remind me of the rough weight of struggles,
one foot after another, and the teaching
to generations of the difference between
a life’s pursuit and taking directions,
the resolve never to sweat to build fences
meant to hold you in, never to plant your feet
where there’s no easy way out, no horse
to leap with, and no paved gray road
glowing under slanted yellow light as
you make your way past the county line.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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2 responses to “Whenever My Son Sees Horses

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