Horses on the Grass

From the tower window
the moon
draws a silver maple’s shadow
across a spangled lawn;
                                  horses
rear, manes lashing the air,
front legs floating.
                              Half monarch,
half shadow, the tree
aspires to the sky;
one branch, cracked by lightning,
scrapes the earth.
                           Reflected
on the grass, bent twigs
are curved hooves, galloping
as the moon rises.

Divided it stands
in wholeness, mourning
its victories, praising
the god of trees, the king of horses.

The tree holds souls
in a bark prison
poised like a runner at the starting line—
and bolts free, wildly
pawing the ground those roots lie under.

Grace Schulman, “Horses on the Grass” from Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2002 by Grace Schulman. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved, www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com.
Source: Days of Wonder: New and Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)
More Poems by Grace Schulman