Faint Hope, by Pinstripe Out of Dream Girl
by Gayle Reaves-King

Someone put The Red Pony in the children’s section
thin, bitter surprise tucked in the shelves
for a young girl reading her way
through Flicka and Farley
naming invisible horses
sketching ranch plans with popsicle sticks.
Years race by, forms and pedigrees
she wanted to name them all. A little dreaming
never hurt anybody, or a few clouds ––
that last is from Steinbeck.
A few clouds never hurt anyone
or a little rain,
or a little cough
or a million pots of poison
peed into the ocean.
But it does, it does
and the rain made the colt sick
couldn’t breathe, though the old wrangler
cut a new hole in its throat.
She never learned to save
though she kept intending to
or how to flirt
though what does that
matter in the long run.
Picked a few winners, lots
of lovely lost causes, jobs
explaining how the world
is cutting its own
because it knows how to flirt
like nobody’s business.
We’re all business here.
Business plan A:
run out of water, switch to Pepsi.
When the stories
get too scary, make them into paper hats
sell stick horses and light sabers
draw plans for salvation
with wet fingers in dirty air.
Party for the night is coming
sing GDP, GDP around the bloody red hole.
Don’t look at the poor pony, dear.
Don’t look at those strange clouds.
A bit of hope
never hurt anyone
but we grups could use
a little Steinbeck in the morning.

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