Godiva’s Horse

by Laurie Byro
Desert Moon Review
Highly Commended, May 2010
Judged by Fiona Sampson


My God, he was a devil of a man to make
my lady weep into my head before she rode

with the heaviness of a sparrow, broken
winged, broken-hearted, her eyes furtively

cast down murmuring stories to me as
she passed through the shuttered town.

Only I know her secret. I am a horse,
no opinion, they gelded me for less, neither

“Nay” or “Yea” to tax. There is not a man alive
who knows that before her regal ride,

there were tears. Ghosts become alive
when they are haunted by bickering.

She straddles me, her waves of tears, her diaphanous
white shift, the seeping blue shells that she sets

on the garden stones to tempt glass-eyed birds
to mate. She is planting a poison garden, sowing

wolfsbane and nightshade to settle to the mulch.
I am nothing to her but a strong neck, a strong back.

She is not the first woman to weep, not
the first woman to carry the ocean inside her.


I love the confidence of this opening, of the idiomatic diction. --Fiona Sampson

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