I wasnít such a big rider for one thing, which can be hell on a man.
The lanterns in the steeple gleamed like teeth.
I have a phobia about teeth, especially if they glow in the dark.
The horse could smell my terror, but luckily he only ran faster and cleaved to the road.
Strands of his mane numbed my fingers.
It was a clear night and sound carried.
On the carriage path, the late gallop was enough to catch the ear.
But it was my voice that roused them, my hoarsening cry reaching a half-mile ahead.
When I finally got to the river, they were already lined up with their fifes and their guns.
I rode back to Boston with bruised balls, filching apples.
Things got worse after that.

Copyright 2006,  Claudia Putnam

Claudia Putnamís work has recently appeared in Penumbra, GW Review, and Facets, and is forthcoming in Artful Dodge. She has twice been a finalist in Glimmer Train contests, and her book-length collection was a semi-finalist in the 2002 Tupelo Press poetry contest. She taught writing for three years at the University of Colorado and was a past Ragdale Foundation fellow. In August, Claudia took a master class with Marvin Bell at Pacific Lutheran University.


<< Previous Contents Next >>