Territory Folks

After mother remarried, her new husband
shot the horse that had returned
with an empty saddle.

It hadn’t let anyone but me ride it since.
You couldn’t slam a door or fire a gun,
it would kick down the stalls.

We’d put it outside during thunderstorms.
I’d hear a frantic drumroll of hooves
circling the pasture,

& something heavy — the Sunday roast — scraping
across a table. I mean, the way it sounds
from underneath,

crouching among the chairs, hungry,
keeping a wary eye on those tooled
leather boots.

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