My Father Saw

Laura Wisniewski


My father saw a small man

beat a horse to death.

The people crowded

Market Street.

The man wore

a furious moustache.

The horse’s shoulders rose

until they touched the sky.

(My father,

a small boy then, was always looking up.)

The horse’s head

dropped down

like a pear that bends the twig,

in love

with gravity.

The man’s whip snapped.

The horse exhaled


shuddered, then

went down,

white eyes wide,

in dust.

The big boys ran for sticks, for brooms, for spades.

They formed a circle round.

They poked the horse

its sides, its eyes, its testicles.

A boy with a new beard

pierced the horse’s chest.

Blood flowed

from the broken dam

of the horse’s dignity.

My father turned away.


I’ll never get it from my mind,

My father said.

He shook his head.

We all were poor back then, without a dime

or hope.

Every step uphill,

My father said,

But still.




Laura Wisniewski is a poet and Yoga therapist. She lives and works in a small town in Vermont among family and friends. Although she has been writing for many years, Laura only started publishing in her sixties. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Fukushima Anthology, Poets and War, Hunger Mountain Review and others.



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