Survival                                                                                                               —Sarah Kortemeier

A horse on a photo shoot in California
was frightened by the sound of surf,
so he ran straight into the ocean.
He ran two miles on a road

that didn't exist, and for an afternoon,
he was holy: a god small enough
to face the surface of the world, to pit
lung and innocence and muscle against
its terrible curve.

In the hands of his rescuers,
the horse was still swimming.
The ocean looked like something gentle.
He threw his head up, breathing,
and the men laughed and called
for a counterweight.
His front legs started up again.
Two miles out to sea,
so much death and space, a sunset ahead
of them all, and they got the harness on. 


(This poem is available in our store  
as a broadside signed by the author.)

photo: Cybele Knowles

photo: Cybele Knowles

Sarah Kortemeier holds an MFA from The University of Arizona; her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Ploughshares, Fairy Tale Review, Sentence, and Pilgrimage, among others. She lives and works in Tucson, where she serves on the library staff at The University of Arizona Poetry Center. 

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2016