Territory Folks

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After mother remarried, her new husband
shot the horse that had returned
with an empty saddle.

It hadn’t let anyone but me ride it since.
You couldn’t slam a door or fire a gun,
it would kick down the stalls.

We’d put it outside during thunderstorms.
I’d hear a frantic drumroll of hooves
circling the pasture,

& something heavy — the Sunday roast — scraping
across a table. I mean, the way it sounds
from underneath,

crouching among the chairs, hungry,
keeping a wary eye on those tooled
leather boots.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. I love the fairy tale feel of this poem, Dave. And I remember the image. The hand prints remind me so much of ancient cave art, and recent questions wondering if it was grafitti back then, as here.


  2. Thanks, M-L. I figured readers would remember that picture, but with poetry I do feel that an image helps draw people in, so I may be doing a bit more recycling in the coming days. (But I’ll be uploading new photos to my Flickr page, as well.)


  3. More a frontier anecdote for me, full of a sense of place & memory.


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