“I think I hear horses on the roof!” my mother would say in the middle of the night,
And my father would rise from the bed, pull his boots on, get his shotgun,
Go out into the night and shoot his gun up at the stars, return to their bed and say,
“It's ok, I got rid of them, you can go back to sleep now,” his voice patient and kind,
My mother might already be asleep, or on the edge, and she could let go till morning.
In the days on the ranch if we could catch the horses in the corral we could ride them.
After the laborious saddling we would ride to our post office town, my cousin and me.
Short-cutting through orchards, the horses would gallop under the low branches
And our young teenage backs would bend low over the saddle horns, holding tight
As the wild horses veered close to the trees, trying to scrape us off, so they could run free.
Maybe they wanted to run free of us up to the green hills where they could graze on their own,
Or just turn back, with their burden emptied on the orchard floor, and race back to their barn.
Even better, if we hadn't cinched the saddle tight enough, and they scraped the saddle off
Against the trees, they could gallop faster to a dead run, pounding against the earth until
They left it and took the big leap up onto the roof of a ranch house, stationed for night.
Today I sit cross-legged early in the dawn, focused on my breath, practicing meditation,
And the wild horses are racing past my window, pulling my mind into the orchards and
Then up onto the roof, galloping faster and faster, racing with my cousin, both of us
Laughing as we lose our grip and slip to the ground, the horses run off, reins flying.
I race after them, wanting to catch them and calm them and tame the wild horses of my mind.