Of the two spoiled, barn-sour geldings
we owned that year, it was Red—
skittish and prone to explode
even at fourteen years—who'd let me
hold my face to his own: the massive labyrinthine
caverns of the nostrils, the broad plain
up the head to the eyes. He'd let me stroke
his coarse chin whiskers and take
his soft meaty underlip
in my hands, press my man's carnivorous
kiss to his grass-nipping under half of one, just
so that I could smell
the long way his breath had come from the rain
and the sun, the lungs and the heart,
from a world that meant no harm.
"Kissing a Horse" by Robert Wrigley, as published in Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems (Penguin Books, 2006). © Robert Wrigley. Reprinted by permission of the poet.
The poet has also been kind enough to share links to additional poems at Numéro Cinq and The New Yorker.
Art credit: "Subtle Smile," photograph by Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor.