Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
print version

The Cavalry

Under cover of the stars in July
  a farmer arrived with seven
huge Appaloosas snorting

on the lawn of the White House.
  One was wild bucking against
the ropes and the wide net

pinning its wings down and
  Lincoln smiled marveling
at what some sugared oats

and Vermont grass had made
  of these horses leaping against
the bindings. Cavalry, cavalry

said the man, imagine your new
  cavalry running through the sky.
Lincoln ran his hand along

the feathers stiff as shingles,
  soft as a lady’s arm and the man
motioned for him to climb on

and when he was situated,
  holding tight, the farmer cut
loose the netting and watched

the president laugh as the creature
  bucked hard and jumped in the air.
The Department of War bought all

of the horses which were shot from
  the sky one at a time over Sharpsburg
falling into the houses like bombs.    

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