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With you, they buried your works, your tools. Then we brought the horses. Your black, your bay, your blue roan – they were weak. For three days they’d refused all sustenance, keeping vigil on the dry pasture: their muscle and bone showed like knots carved in stone. I prayed for rain.
We ran them, wasting them. The dust, uplifted, conferred meanings to our elders. We readied them. We scraped the sweat from them then bathed them and adorned them. I tended to your blue roan as I had tended to you, bathed you, prepared you. Each morning, I would press your bright chest plate against your chest. Did you ever see me?
Care was needed. Last spring, because Peterson’s boy gave no heed, struggling with his father’s stallion, he took a hoof to the skull, tumbling in ahead of the horse and dead but his legs still leaping, like a frog in a pot. A great glory, they called it.
Your blue roan battled. Her cries were a chorus of broken horns and vast collapsing things; then, a stampede of earth, engulfing the body, engulfing the neck and the large, violent head, engulfing the eyes, and the crying mouth, and the cry. The mounds lay still.
The mounds lay still, and the horses weren’t dead and weren’t living. And you were not dead, and you were not living. Then it was done (whatever it was we were doing here). But after the horses, they looked to me. They awaited another, a further act of faith.