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The horses

We are on the road, waiting for the right signpost to flash past when we see them – tall and dark, rising out of frosted fields. You slow down as we both feel the pull of their magnetic hearts. Seatbelts are unbuckled, car doors hastily flung open. We pad towards the wooden gates. There are two of them, handsome silt coloured mares, with heads like sculptures, watching us carefully. We hold our hands out, a humble show of peace, fleshy palms and quieted souls. They accept us like we are pilgrims, and nuzzle into our sweaters

as we pat them, running our fingers through fine horse hair, their breath hot against our sides. They inhale the same air we do, and some part of us mingles with them. We can’t stop patting, can’t stop peering into their world reflecting eyes. We are both of us city kids, and seeing horses is a treat, something to lengthen. We talk to them softly, like we would to a child or elf, calling them beautiful, wise, true inheritors of this earth. We wish to know their thoughts, whether they are happy to see us or just curious, as we are not. The sky begins to change palettes, painting gold behind us as the sun rises, a sign that we must hit the road.

In the car, we turn the music up, both of us silent, looking back at the horses, now frozen behind us, until they fade into two dark dots by the gravel road. I catch your gaze. You smile, and it moulds your face like the sun does frost.

Alexis Lateef  
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