Home > Trip > Dispatches > Trip South > Dispatch #9

Dispatch #9: Tuesday, May 10: Lethbridge, AB to Great Falls, Montana: The Second Time Around

No problem getting across the CA–US border at Sweetgrass. This time, we weren’t taking any chances. Pete put on a button-down shirt, and I donned a clean fleece coat. The first customs agent directed us to a second, who was standing behind the counter on the first floor of a large, two story building. He at first said that we’d need to have our horses checked out by a veterinarian, but then a moment later th said no, that our horses’ papers were in order. We then followed him outside where he checked out the horses, via the window. They, as always, enjoyed the attention. As in Beaver Creek, the dog in the backseat went unnoticed. I concluded that it was a good thing she didn’t pant when the truck was stopped.

The Great Falls Fairgrounds was easy to find. As I walked around, I wondered if memory has yet another dimension and if Raudi and Siggi (who now each occupy a stall) are attuned to it.

The Ghosts of Horses Past

Shed rows, white paint fading,
fresh green grass, soft brown mud.
It’s morning, horses whinny, bang
Iron shoes on wooden stall doors.
Tin cans szzzz, as each receives
an allotted ration of oats, corn, barley.
And for the picky, molasses.

The ghost of horses past
remember how their days
once revolved around the activities of
grooms, trainers, hotwalkers, jockeys—
and in the heat of the afternoon, screaming fans.

And in the evenings,
the ghost of horses past remember
the sound of fading footsteps,
a prelude to quietude and nightfall.