Crying the Mare


The harvest nearly complete, the farmer’s neighbors tied the remaining sheaves of
corn together and flung their knives at them. It was a game called Crying the Mare and it
made Jonathan think of himself growing up. He thought of the deep wise voice he heard
in his dreams and he threw knives at it to pin it to the wall, but the wall in a dream
doesn’t hold much. He wanted that voice.
“I’ll have turnips for lunch. There’s no deception in a turnip,” said Petrov while the
knives whistled and the shouts of “Almost” rent the air. Twas an unexpected wisdom
indeed that sent the sky into the children’s pockets at that moment, but there you have it.
It matters not to the progress of innocence that the river continues weeping.
Tom the Seeker saddled the children’s clouds with warnings of impending doom.
He still carries a knapsack to hold the emptiness he finds. He’ll sleep in it.
Jonathan was hidden somewhere inside Jonathan. “I’ll try to be an accurate knife,”
he thought. His eyes were open. He began counting the bundles of sheaves.
Tom the Seeker gave Jonathan a wooden plate and said, “To the silent trees I offer
my excess. If this does not speak for them, I’ll replace it with the rich smell of rotting
seaweed.” He gave Jonathan a fork, turned around in a slow circle and began barking at
the sky.
Before it began raining, a farmer’s sickle struck the knot in a bundle of corn
sheaves and everyone shouted three times. Jonathan and Petrov stopped eating clouds
long enough to feed the other children. The field was still hungry. There were no birds
left in that field to verify the wind in our place and no deep wise voice to separate
sleeping from waking.
Q: How much does fear weigh?
A: Too little to carry all the way home.
And the mare sleeps in the harvested field and listens to the dreams of the sheaves
and runs farther in the dream than when it wakes.
There’s a voice in everything you do, but sometimes it’s not your voice. And then
it is. And then you live there.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.