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Jane Zwart

Saint Cloud

Wild Horses

Saint Cloud

Protector of relief pitchers, of chimney sweeps
                 and chimney swifts and children
who choose the oboe; patron saint of diffuse light,
                 of home haircuts and darned socks,
of mild oaths and boilerplate wedding vows; guardian
                 of back-up glasses, of resoled shoes:

Bless the bailing tin and the ailing plant
                 brought back from the brink
and intercede for us, understudies in saving things
                 without blood or barter or fire.

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Wild Horses

for Asher

This child I love
scowls at a tri-fold sleigh
that hides a bench
behind a mare.

He scoffs at giraffes
and snubs an alpaca

but the swan he pats;
whether with pity
for an ungainly thing
or to steady himself

it is not mine to say.
Mostly it is horses.

Mostly the saddles’ pommels
are jewels that Asher,
undazzled, ignores

nor do its leg warmers
distract the boy
from the Clydesdale’s mild eye.

This child I love
checks the pegasus’ teeth.
I know what he is
looking for: wild horses,

the ones who will bolt,
unbolting their hooves
from the carousel’s deck,

no use for farriers
or fairy tales, no use
for the tigers that never take
the children
from their backs.

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Jane Zwart’s poems have appeared in Poetry, TriQuarterly, and Threepenny Review, as well as other journals and magazines. She also reviews books, writes the occasional essay, and interviews other writers. She teaches literature and writing at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing.

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