On a Small Farm in Waterbury, VT
Michael Mingo

On a Small Farm in Waterbury, VT

     after the photograph by Sasha Arutyunova

The horses know
you don’t belong here. No one ever
sees how the planks are peeling

from the barn walls,
falling to join a lain-down ladder
in blocking off a path

of grassless earth.
Nobody stumbles to avoid them.
Neither would you, except

you chose to stop
mid-route, and found this disrepair
a passable subject. Fear

and isolation
are frequent stablemates, like trees
and phone lines, water drums

and the dead bushes
that stop their rolling. Since you’ve come
with lenses and ideas,

they’ve grown more tense,
these captured horses. The one confronts you.
The other only peeks.

Michael Mingo

received his MFA in poetry from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, Tar River Poetry, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and The McNeese Review, among other journals. He currently works as a proofreader and resides in northwest New Jersey.