I remember losing

the blue ribbon. It was
the first time I wanted
to win, wanted proof
I was good. Instead,
we lost, my horse
& I, both novices,
new to expecting

perfection. My horse
in the sunlight, content
to just be fed, warm.

I remember the swarm
of anger without a place
to go. It was the first time
I wanted to escape. Instead,
I kicked her, my horse—
& I, a novice,
new to expecting

comfort, had to keep
pulling my own body
away from that fire.

Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick‘s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Gulf Coast, Salamander Magazine, Frontier Poetry, MAGMA Poetry, The Texas Observer, Four Way Review, The Missouri Review, and Passages North, among others. Hardwick serves as the poetry editor for The Boiler Journal.

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