Up to St. Raphael’s
I was walking up to see the horses.
Some workers zoomed to get to work on time.
Little Jimmy wants a picture sent to Oliver.
Oliver dotes on horses.
From somewhere a train whistle blew, soft and long.
Then came rain, steady and welcome.
Leaves leaned low, caressed the grass.
Polished emerald from the rain, the grasses glistened.
Those horses will love to eat that luscious grass.
Shadows and puddles, mud piled
on the side of the road, delayed by rain.
I looked beyond fences at St. R’s for horses. None.
Here last year, though, sleek and dark and delicate,
nibbling on grass.
Behind the church, they used to meander over,
nosing the fence for treats, a carrot or an apple.
Oliver would like that.
No horses — but something new, a concrete crescent studded
with names, and a faint little waif with a bowl. For ashes, maybe.
I snapped the empty field; went on my way.
Ann Neuser Lederer‘s poetry and nonfiction are published in journals such as Diagram, Passages North, Brevity, 2 River Review, Unlikely Stories, and UCity Review, whose recent “noteworthy” section presented her poems. Her work is honored in Best of the Net and Ohio State University’s Vandewater Poetry Award; published in anthologies such as A Call to Nursing and The Country Doctor Revisited; and in chapbooks Fly Away Home (2019), Weaning the Babies (2007), Approaching Freeze (2003), and The Undifferentiated (2003). Ann was born in Ohio and has worked there and in surrounding states as a Registered Nurse. See details at ann-neuser-lederer.blogspot.com.