Home PageArchivesVolume no. 2Issue 3Fiction: Sherl

I Felt the Horse Breathe

Gregory Sherl

By now the sun has baked the concrete and there are fake rivers if you look down the street. I try to swim down the street to meet K but it never works out that way. I fast-forward through mid-afternoon. My cat yawns, licks himself clean. I want to ask someone How do people do that? How do they just stop loving? There are so many movies full of pretty people and there are broken hearts inside their white, capped teeth. I stand at a street corner and hand out bottles of Paxil, Lithium, Lexapro. It doesn’t work that way someone in a white coat tells me, or maybe the Valium tells me, or maybe the sun tells me, or maybe no one tells me and that’s why I’m still doing it, whatever it is. I used to get so stoned I didn’t care who touched me. I would wake up and she was there, and I kept my eyes open and she was still there. Things are different now. I felt the horse breathe beneath me and that was enough. It was yesterday when Lindsey took me to the barn and showed me Duke, her 24-year-old gelding. We cantered and then I combed his mane while he ate grass. I felt full. South Florida has barns and that’s weird because right down the street from the barns is a strip mall and down the street from the strip mall is a regular mall and down the street from the regular mall is a Wal-Mart and Burger King and Texaco. Everything is so out of place that my skin crawls away from me. The barns are where the Everglades used to be, so instead of snakes there are horses. A natural progression from scales to hoofs. Instead of panthers we have more horses, their teeth dulled and gray like the ground they trample.

Gregory Sherl is the author of “Heavy Petting” (YesYes Books, 2011) and “The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail” (Mud Luscious Press, 2012). This piece is part of the collection “Monogamy Songs,” which will be released by Future Tense Books in the summer of 2012.


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