“Boys of My Youth,” by Charlotte Boulay

“Boys of My Youth,” by Charlotte Boulay, appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of MQR.

Each week I pried stones from the frog, ran hands over fetlocks.

Gold palomino, black morgan, a huff and a cirrus
of steam. Winter mornings light

muscled its way through the whitewashed boards.

I spread sawdust and watered. Pulled mane hairs out by the roots;
appaloosa, pinto, roan. Did you touch me then?

My skin may still remember the weight
of hands. Air lightened and swept.
I stacked buckets, each upturned curve a carapace of desire,

shadows of palm laced together straining
hearts of palm. The weightless bulk of clouds, the stalks of corn stripped
bare, the rustling

of unsteady faith as when still a girl I lay
in haystacks, taut as a bowstring,

dreaming of horses.

Image: Cropped view of “Horses.” Attributed to Francesco Allegrini. 1624-63. Pen and brown ink. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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