Then This Crazy Pony Put His Nose Into My Hands

Amanda Smeltz

Then this crazy pony put his nose into my hands—
His jaw was like a wheel. His eye like a submarine window.

Having been given the blessing, I go where the angel commands.
Runaways hide in the closet, jump the hedges, dodge the cops...

Whom do the animals come to? To only the pure in heart?
By the eyebrows of Ben Lerner you will know the wise among you.

In the crevice between the bed and the wall, footprints and other smudges.
People cluster where the wagons can’t ford the water.

The line break is mostly vanity: wearing cologne at the airport.
Whiskey begins my wit but winds up milk in my eye.

Bourbon country, shining grass, Byrum’s red hair in waves—
The cemetery was too big to find the grave we were looking for.

Better the veins on a strong old horse, rivers that never flood,
Than a preface written by the surviving—it embarrasses the dead.

We stand in the grass where the bathroom was, make signs to ward off cancer.
Nearby, the churning Ohio flirts with throwing its banks.

Three times a house has fallen; three times we raise it up.
Our fathers are fields, their backs, hills. Trees bristle on their shoulders.