When I Am An Old Horsewoman…

Old-Horse-WomanI shall wear turquoise and diamonds
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots
And sit in the alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.

I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding
Across the moonstruck meadow
if my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
as I walk past the gardens to the barn
And show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.

I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to all
who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at the midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.

By Patty Barnhart