Claudia Buckholts is the author of the poetry collectionsTraveling Through the Body (Night House, 1979) and Bitterwater (River House Press, 1975). She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, and won the Grolier Poetry Prize. She lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.
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The Summer in Oklahoma
In the morning the horses appeared as I looked down from the attic window, the red horse leading the bay, and the pale horse running behind. For a whole day they were ours: my sisters and I rode them over the fields. All this was long ago, the morning, the blossoming of the light, its fervor withheld no longer, before the shadows appeared in their strange syncopations, before death appeared in the world to trudge the weary trajectory of the stairs and stand looking down over the fields. Last night I dreamed of the horses again. They gallop in a bright ring, one after another, none losing its place, always the same distance apart. Now the rider pulls on her dark reins and for a moment the horses move to the perfection of that music which is unheard, though hoped for in every place. Now I remember the gaze of noon, transparent, shedding its far white light over the shrouded fields, the rectangles of green, over the spreading river between. The possibility of grace had never seemed so near, the sunflowers lifting their enormous heads by the farmer’s house, while the birds, grosbeak, towhee, assemble, seeking their food: seeds, plucked out in the morning, fall to earth in the daylight field and rise in the field of night.