Colleen Higgs


Missing horses

(for David, my stepfather)

My father's hands were big and tanned
the backs covered in dark hair
he was a sportsman
good at polo, golf, squash, darts, tennis
a man with exceptional eye-hand co-ordination
and he could draw horses
from memory

In the second half of his life
he missed horses, everyday,
horses were his inner life
he yearned for horses, to be among them
to ride them
to smell the hot sweat of horse after a polo match
to hold soft leather reins in his hands again

My father only once ever laid a hand on me
he wasn't given to hidings
he wasn't an affectionate man either, not to me
I loved him because I knew
how sad he was about the horses —
my mother made him choose
It's either me or the horses, she said


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