by Janna Roselund
The spirits of horses are alive in these mountains.
When the moon rises—just there
between the dark notch of hills
you can see them
slowly moving behind the bare trunks of trees
their smooth necks bowing
among the branches.
The spirits of many horses are alive in these mountains.
As the night falls you can hear them
rustling softly in the dry ferns
their shining eyes round as coin
in the hollow of the rocks.
When the wind lifts
you will see their waving manes
in the tall silver grass.
Do not try to ride them—
easier to hold the falling rain in your hands
easier to catch the moonlight in your hat.
Each of the poems that I chose were poems that possess stickiness, haunting me, charming me, challenging me, making me reach back to them. They accomplish this attraction variously through diction, poise, topic, point of view and yes, voice.
The third-place poem entices the lover of open spaces and horses with spare elegance only to withdraw the spell in two final pivots not of closure but rather seasoned disclosure. And release.
Janna Roselund is a native Oregonian. She attended the University of Oregon, where she studied art and creative writing. Her love of nature and interest in folklore and mythology are evident throughout her work. She is currently writing poetry and painting in her studio in Oakland, Oregon.