Poetic Ponderings On the Lunar Year of the Horse

by Tish Valles


Because life and art weave in and out of one another, my family back home are at our vacation spot in the mountains where I first I learned to ride a horse. This is also the place where I found fire. May the year of the horse bring you fire!

Marlboro Country


I catch a glint

 in your eye that 

unnerves me,  

as if to challenge. 

This is how I know it.

You’re the one.

All dark brown stunning, 

silky mane 

and proud stance. 

Today there was

only you. Tomorrow 

is Easter, 

today, I ride. 

I am eleven years old.

I motion to you

with a slight

head nod, 

come over 

then mount you.

Reins firmly

held in my left hand, 

leather straps

in right, I click

tongue to inner

cheek, get up

on my haunches

nudge you

with my right shoe

and we are off.


We are beautiful

brown hair blowing

in the wind,

we are

rhythm of

gallop, we are

gorgeous dance

of brute force

and balletic gait. 

We are break

away from the trail,

we are abandon.

We are thrill and


We are

my girl gasps

and your beastly

breath. We are mist

on this cool summer 

morning.  We are


speed, unflappable



Nothing can

touch us. 

Not the skinny

trail, not the 

ravine to

our right, not

the rocks

slipping from

under your 

hooves, not 

the screams

of the pack we’ve 

left behind. Not 

the cloud of

dust, not the

other on our

tail. Not even

the sunbeams

can catch our skins.


Only you

can touch me, 

anoint me

wild child,



Only I can

touch you, 

anoint you



wise man.

On this ride,

on a trail called 

Marlboro Country,

I found fire.