Thursday, November 21, 2013

David Shumate: "Shooting the Horse"

I unlatch the stall door, step inside, and stroke the silky neck
of the old mare like a lover about to leave. I take an ear in
hand, fold it over, and run my fingers across her muzzle. I
coax her head up so I can blow into those nostrils. All part of
the routine we taught each other long ago. I turn a half turn,
pull a pistol from my coat, raise it to that long brow with the
white blaze and place it between her sleepy eyes. I clear my
throat. A sound much louder than it should be. I squeeze the
trigger and the horse's feet fly out from under her as gravity
gives way to a force even more austere, which we have named

"Shooting the Horse" by David Shumate, from High Water Mark. © University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004.

Photography credit: "Horse Eye," by Dimitar Hristov (originally color).


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