in italia

Tall trees, swaying ones, in the wind that blankets these hills upon which I ride, pass me with intense clout. I barely see their outlines dimly in the predawn light with my weary and crusty eyes. Tears must have stopped draining from them, I’m not sure when. Are those trees still? Their foreboding presence would give me an uneasy stone within the pit of my stomach if I could feel my stomach anymore. I want to stretch my head and look up at the stars, see that smattering band of vivid color, just once more. My torso stretches and I can’t make myself sit upright in this slippery, blood stained saddle.

Wrenching, willing myself to try, a new gush of warm liquid oozes over the saddle and on to my horses coat. I hunch over, moaning only with exhaustion as pain became an old comfortable friend a few ten trees ago. Or maybe it was a hundred, I cannot know and since I cannot translate my horse’s steps, I shall never know. The soft clop of her trot rocks me into a mental ease; her rough breathing empowering my own. She knows the way, even without my hands limping griping her reigns.