Not a Blessing

by Ariel Francisco

Just off the highway where New York
and Jersey and Pennsylvania blur into
the same indistinguishable palette of
mountains and small towns and dead
trees, where it is always about to snow,
where we stopped for gas and got lost
looking for the on-ramp, we came upon
a fenced meadow with two blanketed
horses chewing the stiffening tufts
together, unworried about anything
this world might present to them.
This could be a poem about happiness,
if we pulled over on the soft shoulder,
climbed through the wide slatted fence
to pet them, to ask them their names
in hope their response is some kind of
truth, something that may keep the snow
at bay for just a little longer. But we are
not blessed, and we are not happy; we know
the horses have nothing to say to us.