Burden — A Dream


“Burden” — C.Birde, 7/18


The room is too small, the ceiling too low. A living room – beige walls, soil-brown carpet; cramped and crowded with worn, shabby brown plaid furniture. A room too small for comfort, too small for living. Yet, a young woman sits on the floor, pulling at the carpet’s fibers; and a large, elderly woman sits, at the room’s center, astride…

…a horse.

An enormous horse. Beyond Draft or Belgian or Clydesdale dimensions. Beyond the room’s capacity to contain it. A horse so large the arch of its bowed neck approaches the ceiling’s cracked plane; so large, the round, fleshy woman it bears must hunker forward over its withers or strike her head.

The horse paces a slow circle with heavy, dragging hooves, wears away the carpet, step by step, thread by thread.

The woman astride the horse dismounts, hands over the reins. Scale the great creature’s side…try to maintain a seat…slide, forward and down, along the horse’s bent neck. Catch knotted handfuls of mane; clamp  knees to prevent inexorable decent.

The horse flattens its ears against its skull, peels back its whiskered lips to reveal large, yellow teeth. It rolls great dark eyes backward to survey — unkindly, impatiently — its new and unwieldy burden.


— C.Birde, 7/18


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