Poem: Riding Lessons

3 young girls standing on a hay bale looking in a horse's stall

A writing challenge on the prompt “ritual.”

. . .

Riding Lessons

The boy pulls on each boot as his father waits
grabs his helmet by the strap
lifts it from the dirt where he dropped it
trudges through the maw of the barn where the ponies stand in cross ties
and a thousand girls in jodhpurs adore them.

I prompt him at every step of the ritual tacking-up as he
swipes at the pony’s legs with a brush
broods at its refusal to lift a hoof for the pick
forgets where its bridle, saddle, and the stained pad are stored
even though he has been taking lessons all summer.

Here’s what he thinks about riding
and his father’s nostalgia for horses

He drops the saddle on the pony’s back
with the pommel facing its butt.

. . .

© 2018 Patti Witten
photo / Patti Witten

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