The cowboy entered on a gray horse. Wearing a white Stetson,
with tan hands, and tight jeans. He rode up to a Walmart
in Eagle Point, Oregon to buy dog food. He heard
a woman scream, pointing to a young man riding off
on her bike. The cowboy cantered after the bike thief,
threw his lasso, brought the kid down, tied him
to a tree and called a policeman who thought
the capture was totally slick.
I watched that video clip ten times.
I want that horse. I want to solve a problem
with an unexpected skill, a leap out of ordinary.
For twenty years I wore a silver Navajo bracelet
with three coral ovals – my Wonder Woman
cuff to deflect fear, absorb bad vibes and fight for freedom.
I love red boots, red slippers, red sandals
and if I can catch anything in my rope,
I’d aim for a glimmer of equality, of womanpower,
on a mare with an Appaloosa rump blanket of stars
who picked her way through the pass
marked with ancient carvings on rock
and heard voices in tall grasses.
If the woman who almost lost her bike is grateful
for horses, so am I. To remember Kapkap-Pommi,
(Noise of Running Feet), who at the age of twelve
galloped up to Sitting Bull’s camp in Canada
ahead of U. S. soldiers pursuing her father,
the Nez Perce Chief Joseph, leading his people
through the freezing Bitterroots in an escape
toward Canada. He of fight-no-more-forever
surrender. He who was never permitted to return home.
She never saw her father in his exile.
When she returned to the states, she was renamed
Sarah and put in an agency boarding school. But first,
and always, she outwitted and outrode Colonel Miles’
white soldiers. That is why I love my bracelet
of possibility and unexpected endings.
Tricia Knoll is excited about the publication of Let’s Hear It for the Horses from the Poetry Box on February 1. These poems witness to a long love affair with these wonderful creatures Knoll describes in her dedication: “Cave art from 30,000 years ago reveals that horses intrigued early people. Humans partnered up with horses at least 5,000 years ago. Horses have plowed fields and pulled wagons. They participated in wars and learned to pirouette in show rings. We came to know horse power. The people who love them learned gentling. Praise be to stablemates and wild horses on public rangelands and in Chernobyl.” The chapbook is available at presale discount through December 31st .