Baldy, by Charlie Brice
Photo by Sheila Swayze on Unsplash
Under grey Wyoming skies we watched
tadpoles pulse through the creek
and jackrabbits cottontail the prairie--
until it was time for a ride.
Saturdays on Risha’s ranch I got
to ride Baldy, while Joe, my
eight year old best friend, rode Spot.
Baldy was the kindest horse, gentle,
easy on the gallop while Spot, a frisky
pinto, was often a little cranky. When
it snowed, we wrapped ourselves
in blankets, listened to the saddle leather
creak, and watched the flakes melt
on Baldy’s or Spot’s hot hide. I can’t
remember why Joe and his dad Al
named that brown stallion Baldy?
No one left to ask now. Leukemia
took Joe’s sister when she was twelve.
Joe’s mother, Ruth, cut in half at the
railroad crossing just off the ranch.
Bib, their three-legged dog, always good
for a tail-wag and a rump-scratch, gone
long ago. Cancer found Al in the eighties
and gobbled up Joe two years ago.
I heard that Al rented a backhoe to dig the hole
for Baldy. A hired man held his bridle while
Al aimed and fired, then jerked the straps so
Baldy would land in the right place.
Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His fifth full-length poetry collection is The Ventriloquist (WordTech Editions, 2022). His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
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