An RCMP horse must be black, elegant, athletic...

You never know with humans.
I try to discern their point of view,
but itís complex. Sometimes touch,
smell, the inflection of a voice
provides the clue; often itís guesswork,
but I am a Mountie.

Itís my job to be loyal, a legacy
from my father and his. I carried Do-Right
for weeks to get here. No hoofing about,
no sweet nickers for me. Itís scenic enough,
grand vistas filled with peril and hardship,
but Dudleyís spirit is thin. Even I can see
loneliness in that sapphire gaze.

And Nell, sheís an odd one, always crying
out for attention: getting tied to the tracks,
coming within millimeters of an angry blade
before I lug Dudley to her aid. I suspect
her motives and itís tiresome, a misuse
of resources, but where would we end
if he let the bossís daughter down?

I could not abide Motherís doleful eyes
if they sent me back to Ottawa. The shame
of a white-coated sonís enough. If she lost me
to the auction block, the highest bidder
would procure more than her illicit child.
Sheíd lose her raison díÍtre, bury her nose
in a patch of crimson clover, go silent with grief.

Iíll carry on despite the adolescent antics,
whips and ropes, the histrionics. We all yearn
for mislaid dreams: that silken filly
languishing in Quebec, the sharp flash of her tail.

Copyright 2006,  Rebecca Clark

Rebecca Clarkís writing credits include StringTown, Snow Monkey, Manzanita Quarterly, and others. She has work forthcoming in Rattle, Pearl, Heliotrope, Literary Salt, and others. Rebecca works as an attorney, coordinating a volunteer lawyer program, and lives in Washington Stateís Skagit Valley with her husband and daughter.


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