The Steeplechase Dream
Helen Steenhuis

The Steeplechase Dream

The horses run at a dead gallop,
crowds cheering, bodies leaning
in an expectant wave.
I turn away and head to the paddock.
Among a circled few, my gaze
falls upon the chestnut filly:
eyes wild, knees curled into a dance,
broom-tail swishing in rage.
I see her leap,
kick out and draw in,
trapped in her fury,
hooves traveling from one rail to the next
seeking the unattainable—
hills, forest, or creek.
Then she takes a second leap
to try her new bones.
Someone screams, pointing
to where she stands trembling,
rust skin shed to the ground like an old blanket,
her body a maze of rich blood,
brilliant, thoroughbred.
No one dares to speak.
She is glimmering fire,
essential, faceless, primitive.

Helen Steenhuis

lives in Aix en Provence, France, and works as an English-language teacher. She has contributed to The French Literary Review, Equinox: A Poetry Journal, and The Poetry Library in Southbank Centre, London.