Heart and spirit, this one life.
Free roaming, nature bred and nurtured.
Nostrils flare. Vibrating pulse.
The sky splits, the beast roars down.
Blades slap the air.
Equus Ferus move as one band,
Hooves thunder, break the earth.
Dust coats muzzles. Eyes wild,
heart pounding, kicked stone sliced hides.
Closer. Closer. The helicopter raptor’s
relentless sky menace chase.
Wild horses running ragged and hard,
for miles down the mountain.
Heat-soaked flanks. Trapped reprieve.
Lost in confused exhaustion,
Manes tangled with burrs – debris;
Foals separated from mares. Disbanded herds.
Old and lame dying in captivity.
Deadened eyes, mirrored terror.
Despair and panic remain,
long after the dust settles.
Welcome to the Bureau of Land Management’s
fenced freedom domestication.
Starvation. Dehydration. Publicity lies.
BLM’s boom or bust regurgitation.
Inhumane culling versus nature.
Healthy feral auctioned. Slaughtered.
We’ll give you an incentive to adopt,
we have no way to keep track.
Foals with torn hooves,
mother has a human mask.
A bit and halter, to be weaned or broken?
Pregnant mares to be sterilized,
never to foal again.
Family is a human concept after all.
Give us more allotted land,
but keep the 1971 cull numbers.
It’s not the horses that need regulation.
Home on the range, cattle only need apply.
Controlled ecology for ownership,
farming land or spirits?
In a mad race roundup.
We were once wild.
Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate NY with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi, and her one-eyed cat Max. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in Glass Poetry - Poets Resist, The Temz Review, Contrary, trampset, Pittsburgh Poetry Journal, and The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry from Sundress Press. Her work is forthcoming in Grain Magazine, Massachusetts Review, and Gothic Blue Book Volume VI: A Krampus Carol.