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  • Cure for a Horse on Fire
  • Michael Schmeltzer (bio)

In this war zone,a white horse

drenched in oilis set on fire

by an arrow shotfrom an opposite shore.

In this nightmare landscapethere is never a rider.

I imagine I am the archerand the heart of the horse

beating itself,trying to extinguish the flame.

What little I knowof equine and archery.

What little I know of fireand what makes the heart pump.

An ex-lover swore fetishesbegin in fear. It isn't the roar

of heat or the horsethat scares. It isn't the monster-shriek [End Page 47]

of war. It's the riverI failed to mention in this retelling,

that curefor a horse on fire.

How quickly it sweepsanimals downstream,

how efficiently the flameis snuffed.

What little I know of lovebegins and ends

with limbs in a panic,a hiss in the darkness

like a torch dousedin that terrible rush. [End Page 48]

Michael Schmeltzer

Michael Schmeltzer earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His honors include four Pushcart Prize nominations, the Gulf Stream Award for Poetry, Blue Earth Review's Flash Fiction Prize, and the Artsmith Literary Award. Most recently he was a finalist in poetry contests through Third Coast Magazine and Water~Stone Review. He helps edit A River & Sound Review.



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pp. 47-48
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