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About this poet

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.

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.

Copyright © 2017 Claudia Buckholts. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Copyright © 2017 Claudia Buckholts. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Claudia Buckholts

Claudia Buckholts is the author of the poetry collectionsTraveling Through the Body (Night House, 1979) and Bitterwater (River House Press, 1975).