My Old Iron Warhorse

A growl comes from under my leather seat—

the sound of something powerful and untamed; a hurricane

is belched greasily out of the slick chrome esophagus. The engine roars beneath me;

this old warhorse coughs himself to wakefulness as we lurch forward. Now he is mine and I am his.

The ground soars and the asphalt turns to a river, flowing against us.

The wind grabs at my jacket, as if it would keep up, but we’re too fast for it, too fast.

My eyes stream in the cold air and I roar with my engine,

fragile as sea-glass as we hurtle over this highway;

but I am unstoppable; my iron mount and I are swift and ethereal, comets on the dusty plain

that stretches flat before us. We open up; I twist back on the throttle like a hangman pulling the gallows’ lever and feel the hot engine buck, feel him strive to hurl me, this metal beast. But I am strong,

and will not be thrown. The wind whistles in my ears like war-pipes. Sudden courage surges in me like passion as we charge the horizon, as if to joust the setting sun.

The reins are light in my hands. We are on the knife’s edge now, and I feel it for the first time, see death’s cowled face grinning,

as if a curtain has been pulled back from the window to show me a sunset that has always been there.

I am not afraid. A joyous smile is my face, a fierce war-cry behind my lips. Today is a good day to die.

My warhorse coughs beneath me. He’s run out of gas.

I limp him to the shoulder as he hacks himself back to sleep.

I dismount on the side of the road, dig the kickstand into gravel.

Curse, but I don’t mean it. I laugh as the wind catches its breath. Dust on the road glimmers golden in the rusted light.

Things can be funny in a tragic kind of way, but it’s alright.

I have a long way to go, but the sun sets slowly this time of year.

I start walking, walking….


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