It took 1000 men
to kill the last destrier.
They died under its hooves.
The horse had flanks like walls
and sincere murderous teeth.
It had been unsaddled
when the army was triumphant.
It was rendered obsolete by victory
and considered malignant.
The deaths might have been incidental--
water off a spiraling dog--but its
wide muddy eyes gave events
the look of calm intention: a coincidence
of wind and leaves.
And a continent away
its rider: rheumy eyed
and with a slack mustache.
He'd sat proud and tall
aboard his mount--
riding and fighting.
Good only for war.
He wants to say momentous things:
He's seen men falling from the sky
as though they'd cut the branches
from beneath themselves, the long
thorns impaling them as
they struck the dirt.
There had been a stone angel:
a concrete shepherdess
who arranged ambushes.
He's witnessed what lurks just
beside the normal electricity of
living and knows that's the secret
for cursing one another.
He's palpated the shape just outside
people's skins where seizures
and cancers and suicides seep in.
He tries to write but his hand is
too damp and tremulous to hold a pen.
The people thank him for his service
and bow as though to someone wise.
He longs only for his horse.