The best time of a deadly relatives’ Sunday
was to walk with him to the stable and watch him feed
the quiet animal, to give it sugar
from my own hand and jump back away
from the big, warm tongue,
to smell the hay and manure,
to see the white horse in the next stall
with tail and mane like yellow silk.
If my mother and I ran into him as he and the horse
were making their rounds, buying up the wonderful junk
they hauled in the wagon, he’d lift me to the seat
and let me hold the reins and yell “Giddy-up!”
In the spring of fourth grade, one afternoon of silent
division, we heard a clanking and looked outside.
My great-uncle! I could tell them all how I
had held those reins! But everyone laughed
at the hunched old man, the obsolete wagon and horse,
the silly, clattering junk. I did not tell them.