Symphony of Horse Snorts

The symphony starts with the sharp ding of hard boots on metal, the solidly weighted heel sitting firm in the cupped stirrup, the exhalation of air through the seams in the leather as an ankle flexes; Then everything is motion, swinging limbs, sinews, leg hair prickling against light cotton fabric, bracing against the abrasive cold that pinches and bites and slips into unguarded crevices; hooves crunching gravel sets the rhythm as the beast dances sideways, the body sways in its stiff jacket, and the tail lifts, to be paraded through the air like a banner of hay and hair and crusted, frozen dirt– not a beautiful sight to onlookers, but full of pride and prancing conceit; Steamy respiration, fluted through quivering horse nostrils, clouds the air and makes the rider place a clumsy cold hand on that rippling neck; Quiet now, quiet, is in the atmosphere, making meaning in the synapses of onlookers, but inside is the tight, nervous thought: We will run soon, so quiet now. Sharp crisp air burns their lungs, tense muscles twitch in their legs, their backs, and cries of birds, the murmur of a horse welcoming dinner, and the babble of a far off stream are all singing, screaming in the background, but the attentive ears, tipped in black velvet are not listening (they are tuned to something that should be out of their domain; the tendrils of thought whispered by unruly muscles), and the dumb round ears of the rider are waiting for the creak of the saddle, the rhythm of horse breath. Then it is time, and motion and sound explode with the crunch of metal shoes grinding hundreds of tiny stones beneath them, the bunching of smooth pink muscles under copper fur, and the delighted scream-shout that escapes the rider’s mouth and then echoes through the empty spaces between the trees, silencing the stream, the neighbor horse, and the birds.

One thought on “Symphony of Horse Snorts

  1. bonniebushnell says:

    The feeling this piece left me with was similar to Agee’s text. The sentences sometimes felt like fragments and by doing that the point is made more jarringly. I could not place which passage you were following, but this imitation certainly followed Agee’s style.

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