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when I sleep, my dreams are unkind

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He wasn't the biggest nor the strongest horse. But he was, being a horse, strong & big & capable. Or had been. And, though he wasn't the best horse, he was my horse now. And, though I didn't know his name, he was my favorite horse, being mine, but also, generally, being a good horse. And, a horse being such a great big thing, he was thus my favorite thing. 


Also, he was in the back of my 1987 Dodge Caravan (which had been stripped of its seats and covered in a hurry with spare floormats from somewhere).


Also, he was lying on his side with his legs bunched up and his hooves knocked up against the big sliding door.


Also, he was dying.


I sped as much as I could though the crowd. They appeared from nowhere, every place to which I turned. I drove alongside their thickness with a ragged, daunted haste like a heavy wind.


Finally, I passed though a pair of gates ajar and the throng of bodies disappeared behind us. There was clear around, but despite this I braked fully and parked the van. I remember now that I must have put the nose of the vehicle north, as I climbed into the back and slid open the side door, spilling in the rusted yellow of the setting sun and spilling out his great, heavy hooves.


He was dead.


I wrangled, somehow, my legs under the animal and laid my hands spread on his still rib cage. I near broke up my spine leaning strain to tunnel my ear with his great dinosaur nostril and heard nothing.


I sat back up, and stayed that way, for a bit. Then I did what I knew I had to do, before the bugs & the flies & the no-see-ums bored in their sick.


It wasn't the biggest knife. Nor the sharpest. I laid it against his side, at the base of his stoic ribs, and I sawed up to his horse's armpit. I stole up again & again, shedding his left side with a quickness that belied that I hadn't any idea what I was doing. Soon, the whole left of his trunk, one leg, and a part of his long face bore naked sinew. I paused in my work and thought bitterfond upon him once more, sorrowed & sorry.


Right then was when he inhaled.


Ragged, then let a cry like a horse making his horse-noise as loud as he can, from a hundred miles away.

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