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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Paula Moore

White Cloud

On Black Friday, my granddaughter Camille and I visit the doctor’s horse farm. I take it all in: a live oak embraces the old barn’s tin roof; inside, stalls filled with junked farm tools under a thick tapestry of cobwebs and linty dust. The surrounding fields have gone to seed and riot in the Mississippi heat. From the cleared paddocks, horses gaze back at me: a one-eyed quarter horse; a Tennessee Walker; a nameless Appaloosa mare and the high priced Warm Blood. Camille makes her rounds with a plastic bag of carrots.

As I press my face into the neck of the Warm Blood, I am rewarded with a heady lather scent that stirs deep tomboy memories of tangled manes, currycombs and brown tack leather. I lived in Kansas then. I rode White Cloud with a group of pre-teen girl outlaws on the bluffs above a river that froze in winter. I was the only Catholic. Mother Mary watched over me from heaven, high above the drifting white clouds.

Camille’s shout calls me back to the here and now. She’s out in the fields, in the place her mother warned me about, the deepest shade of a live oak where a snake-bit mare rests her bones.

spring thaw… a spot of blood on white linens