OFFICE PASTORAL WITH PONY
 

In the pasture, cows sleep standing up. The law says it’s illegal to tip them over. People do it anyways. From my office I see mistakes people make in a field. Drinking from a bottle in a bag while driving a tractor, any imaginable farming machine. A picnic ruined by stray dogs. When the field gets boring I fill orders, punch numbers onto a screen. I review the year’s success so far. When the day is over, I walk across the field. My pony is parked out there among all the rest: someone lost, someone hiding. Someone crouched in the wheat. 

THE PONY'S SUNDAY BEST 

 

I buy my pony some clothes.
My pony accepts the trunk.
A chest like a dowry
filled with linens and flatware.
No one is marrying my pony.
My pony makes an outfit,
a ruffled collar and some velvet
trousers. My pony fancies
himself a troubadour and goes
to church with a cereal box.
Should we be concerned
or comforted each time
the pony prays for us?
The people in the pews want help.
My pony wants help
with the maze on the cereal box.
My pony wants to help
by pulling small gifts
from his pockets: a toy soldier, a red
piece of string, a folded poster
of a flying eagle. “It doesn’t work
that way,” I say. My pony nudges
his muzzle toward a woman
with her head bowed.
Pencil-in-mouth, it’s hard to speak
but my pony manages.
“I need to get through it
without breaking any hedges.”
The crying woman bows her head
as close to the pew as she can.
My pony bends too, pressing
an ear to the wood. “This
isn’t good,” my pony says.
“This isn’t good at all."