Hard Ground


Smoke and I are often less than poetry on six feet. We’re more like a blob of bubble gum stuck to someone’s shoe. Sometimes the poetry comes later, when my body is not beat down, and that horse is not stubbornly pushing his hot breath into my face.

Hard Ground

Still in your soles
Move without pushing

Hard ground
For grace still rising
Dust and sun
Questions left to dry

Caked like earth
In knots
And ramblings
Water broken by hoof
I knew you

Pebbles peppered my skin
You turned
Dropped your gaze
Square against thought

Your scent
Some clue
To the world unfettered
Tailbone to spine

In memory
The echo of
A boom
Heard after truth
Long faded

We weren’t meant
For some game
Of belonging
Head high

You give me one eye
I ask for two


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Danielle Lattuga is a novice horsewoman, frequently found guilty of confusing hoof beats with heartbeats. She believes that riding and writing are not so different: both part poetry, part sweat.  Follow her into Montana’s horse country, and find out if she’s right.