Yes, she feared them 
in spite of their large forgiving eyes— 
those compact bulging bodies, 
sharp-necked, maned; 
the strangely round poop 
emitted occasionally 
(and embarrassingly) 
from beneath their raised 
tails; the random, indelicate 
snorts. Ach! the suddenness 
of canter into gallop.

She, of course, was in fact I
always intent on proving 
myself to anybody who cared. 
I heard my father’s words: 
Always walk into a grand 
and imposing room 
as if you own it.

And surely 
the underside of his stony 
advice was my fear. He saw it 
in me, and I knew it was there. 
I folded it inside the cuff of my sleeve, 
believing it hidden.

The admirable Mrs. Roosevelt cleverly 
advised: Every day you must do something 
that scares you. Perhaps the thing 
you’re sure you can’t do: pick up the reins, 
hide the news from your dying mother, 
sit down for the difficult talk, turn 
your back on the faithless lover,

even if the world remains a fragile, 
trembling place, beset by low-hanging 
branches, wild unbroken stallions, 
your own sweaty palms.