The Sabbath


We weren’t speaking. It was snowing, temps dipping
into the teens. You and I were playing Frisbee
because we’d fought all day, and it’s a tonic
to get outside and throw the sharp disk at one another
with cold dumb hands. Then the animals appeared.
Horses—male, I think—a pair of grayish steeds climbed
the man-cleared path to the softball field
in Prospect Park, where we stood at a distance.
“Wow,” you said, “horses,” but I missed them at first.
I was chasing down the disk that overshot, banked
above, and hissed in the sky, a flattened apple.
I had had it. “Baby,” I almost said, “I’m trying
to make a catch here.” But I was stopped instead,
lofted like the Frisbee. It was the word “horses”
in Brooklyn air. It was their bodies in Brooklyn in 2007.
Though what is the good of horses in Brooklyn in 2007?
As the first came he bowed his head with one step
and hoisted with the next, nodding like a drunk to nobody
he knows, so slowly that, within the machinations
of a single nod, I revised this scene a dozen times
and made a fine behind-the-back Frisbee snatch
to boot. And yes, I remembered the horses of Achilles,
the chariot of Israel, and Emily’s toward Eternity…
Sometime I’d like to discuss the horses at length.
Meanwhile the second horse did whatever I say
the first horse did, which is walk, and smoke breath,
glimmer, and gloom. They both shouldered through
the intermittent aeons of twilight as mitigated
by black tree shafts. There were riders, too—
there must have been. They wore fancy sweaters—
red, or was it blue? I even thought to go to them,
gently, and stare into their eyes (the horses, I mean)
to see the candles on the horse-shaped altar inside—
horses are, perhaps, more lovely than a Frisbee—
but that’s not what happened, honey. This
is our life: we fought until dark, we mastered
our timing, you made that magnificent cartwheel toss.


- Anthony Carelli