the end. Too polite
to charge in first,
after the miracle,
to the loyal hound.
They reveal nothing
of our character. Do
our wings end in elbow
or fingertip? When we leave
is it bone that feels
the last pinch of air?
My mother plants tulip bulbs each fall
she has grown maybe five hundred now
by reading to them
and teaching them to tell time
Each spring when their sticky fingers wave
goodbye she smiles and watches
their petals fall to the provincial summer
and buys bulbs for the next year
Two decades ago, my mother
planted two unknown seeds
my brother and I didn’t notice
her checking behind our ears for buds
She sweat profusely for a while
not knowing my brother was an aster
and would bloom behind the tulips
though just as tall
She looks at me with the same eyes now
brushes my hair back and says
my, how you’ve grown
Horse girl tells her blonde friend she is a palomino.
Horse girl pulls her belt one notch too tight so it’s snug as a girth.
Horse girl translates her steps into walk, trot, and canter.
Horse girl only eats off plates round as horses’ cheekbones.
Horse girl reads her Saddle Club books alone during lunch.
Horse girl scrapes rocks from her rubber shoes with an invisible pick.
Horse girl hovers over her dog and practices: jockey, jumper, cowgirl.
Horse girl rides a horse named Dusty around in lazy circles.
Horse girl learns what assertive means and how to kick and kick harder.
Horse girl overhears the thud of a horse snapping her instructor’s leg.
Horse girl shrugs off questions about her missing boots.
Horse girl replaces her old backpack with a plain blue purse.
Horse girl doesn’t tap on the glass when passing by horses.
Madison White is a recent graduate of the University of Manchester’s MA program in Creative Writing. She has since returned from the UK to her home state of Kansas where she teaches English and works as a freelance writer. She also blogs about writing and other creative endeavors on her website Madison White Writes. Madison’s poems have appeared in The Cardiff Review, Whale Road Review, Vinyl, and elsewhere.