She'll have none of our ritual, this
dew-eyed Andalusian who was brought to the sanctuary last week,
starved and broken. We whisper Treasure, Rain, Shenandoah, Belezia, Winter,
as we watch for a sign -- a vigorous nod,
some licking and chewing, ears
pricked toward our voices. It's custom to re-name the horses
when they come here, but this new girl
is tougher than most. She offers no quiver
of skin we might take as concession,
seems slow to cloak herself
with humanspeak, one more odd
configuration of sweet syllables she'll grow
to answer to, siren song
that could lead her anywhere
(a mucked-up stall, a pitted field).
One of us wants to try Shalimar next.
Another, who's had her share of losses,
suggests we ask the horse to tell us
her name -- gently touch her neck
or withers, wait and listen,
hold as still as a pasture in full bloom.