“Strangers at Twilight” by David Huddle

The black mare with the white diamond lets me
bump foreheads with her across the fence.
Then we’re at a loss.  I was lonely the whole
afternoon.  All day her girl didn’t come

to ride.  In this field big enough for a dozen,
she’s the single horse.  I tell her she’s pretty.
She lightly sniffs my new shirt.  That’s it–we’re
at the end of what can transpire between an old man

and a young horse who’ve just met.  I say goodbye,
wave as I would to my sister if I had one, then
walk down my side of the fence line.  She waits
a long moment, then trots, catches up, and will

pass me except that sixty-eight years old I know
from third grade a race when I’m in one, by golly
I’m with her five strides, seven, ten!  Then, well –
I let her win.  She and I both know what’s right.

In this quiet poem about rejuvenation and wry wisdom, David Huddle reminds us how quickly and gracefully moments of communication can become communion.

David Huddle, author of fifteen books, including the new Blacksnake at the Family Reunion, will give a reading from his work at 4:00 in WLU’s Northen Auditorium on Monday, November 12. The public is invited.

recent-meR. T. Smith has edited Shenandoah since 1995 and serves as Writer-in-Residence at Washington & Lee. His forthcoming books are Doves in Flight: 13 Fictions and Summoning Shades: New Poems, both due in 2017.