Tributaries: “After Courtrooms”

By Lauren Claus

Midnight over mountains, our horse runs
in directions I never chose; I hated to face the sun
so I never let her reach the forest.
You can’t see her black skin at night, but note
the way each hoofbeat breaks the ground,
leaving crevices. Mud shifts down, clumps together.
Divorce papers all signed, I let her go last night;
that’s why she’s running — she knows there’s been a change.
The woods resonate because of crickets.
Maybe she hits them as she starts to pass through;
maybe that’s why they turn towards silence.
Or, maybe we forget to notice them now,
as we note the branches that lash her sides,
the blood that swells before escaping.
No one knows if she paused before the end;
I pray she did not die still running,
cantering through places she could not see,
trying to fulfill a dream she had once forgotten.

Lauren Claus recently graduated from Harvard University, where she concentrated in English and received a Le Baron Russell Briggs Traveling Prize for continued literary studies. Her  poems have appeared in Soul-Lit and Tuesday Magazine.