The Trade

Even Pegasus in his freedom
thought he’d like
a warm and salted mash
of bran and oats on a cold night,
and under a folded wing
might like the circled rub of a currycomb
until his skin shivered in delight.
And even Pegasus, sometimes weary,
liked to sink to his knees
and drop his shining haunches
into gleaming hock-deep straw.
And even he in the hot bright sun
liked to lay soft whiskered lips on
the spring of fresh water drawn
from the earth for him and sip,
ears making that little dip
that horses make
with every gulp.
So all it took was one Bellerophon
in trouble with the law,
ready to risk all on a fool’s challenge,
to slip a magic bridle on
the unwary noble head and
slip a leg across the untried back.
And now, you who feast on
aromatic pellets formulated
scientifically for equine nutrition —
do you ever wonder on a silver night
or on mornings bright with frosted grass
why you cannot fly?


[Marydale Stewart is a retired college English teacher, librarian, and technical writer and has lived in Illinois, Kansas, and Colorado. Her chapbook Inheritance was published in 2008 by Puddin’head Press in Chicago. She has poems in After Hours, Ascent, Assisi, the Aurorean, Boston Literary Magazine, Chocorua Review, The Foundling Review, Midwestern Gothic, Northwind, River Oak Review, and Willow Review, and forthcoming in an anthology A Quiet Shelter There, to be published by Hadley Rille Books.]

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