We called him Equus, a black horse bucking inside a desert corral because he wouldn’t be broken. He was still feral, they said. Stubborn as a mule. Later we discovered a group of wild horses coming down the mountain to drink from the river. It was evening, the sage still warm beneath our hands. A foal pranced in the shadow of its tribe, unaware of the fine thread between this world and the next.

You drove me to the airport. Dirty rain, the slush of tires. Children walking home from school. I thought of us naming the orchard trees like the bent tree that leans away from the others, yet dropped at our feet the fattest honeyed peaches. You once found a baby quail and snared it between your fingers. Freedom for freedom, you said. Authentic as flesh.

At the departure gate we embrace, then disconnect. Snap. Glancing back (you knew I would), you shrug into your coat and drift toward the cool air. In that instant, I wanted it to be a movie where I tear through security and ravage you with a blade to cut the tethering of all your worlds. But the serrations only fit the bones of your father’s heart, and as he bends, you too shall bend toward the thieves of mercy as all wild things do.

Fara Spence is a journalist with three published books. A former teacher, she received an award for poetry from Memorial University. She lives in southern British Columbia where she teaches Creative writing.