Elysian Fields

These two sway-backed mares, Silesian
or Frisian, long since put out to pasture,
look a bit like strangers who choose not
to stand face-to-face. Long heads turned

in opposite directions, noses resting
on one another’s rumps, eyes half-shut,
they could be dreaming of life together
between the traces – all the muted bustle

of death – coachmen, brisk in top-hats, manes
plaited tight as corn rows, the tickle of the plumes,
ears cocked to hear the blacksmith’s hammer ring,
the clank and whoosh of the hearse at their heels,

the clatter of new shoes on cobblestones. Once tuned
to the strident scent of hothouse lilies, today
they raise their downy nostrils to puzzle over
the quieter perfumes of meadowsweet and vetch.

Wendy Klein