Horse entwined peach:
the scent of my sixteenth year
when I was more in love
with my horse
than with my boyfriend.

In the orchards we hid
from the sun, clopping along
slowly, the lead rope slack
in my hands, her head bobbing.
Sometimes I lay down

flat on her back, trusting her
not to jolt or jump.
Her body shifted side-to-side
under mine, spines rubbing
together like branches. I bent

my knees, rested bare
feet against the smooth
muscles below her withers.
I pushed my soles into
her solid slow stride,

the feeling better than any
sex I would have for decades—
lying splayed open,
carried by my beloved.
My mare stopped under a tree

and I looked for a moment up
through the lace of leaves, glossy
green and lightly brushed
with orange clay dust.
I sat up, cupped

one fruit in my hand,
felt the life of the tree
for one soft instant
before the stem broke
of its own accord and lay

heavy in my palm with all
its gorgeous peach potential.
She turned her neck,
nudged her white-blazed
head into my leg. I twisted

the fruit, juice streaming
down my forearms. I gave
her one half, brought
the other to my lips
and ate.
                                     Nominated for 2011 Pushcart Prize