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2021 American Place Poems Utah

A Horse Named “Unlucky”

Boys are dumb and I was one.
My brother yet another…
Having started our vacation in canyons
With adventures beyond our imagination
My brother and I headed out for a walk
Into the sandstone curves of Arches’ rocks.
Taller and faster he tracked on ahead
And separated we became instead.
Too far out to go back, without the
Brother I lacked, I kept searching around ’til
I found him at the edge of a sweeping bowl.
And, down deep in that hollowed out hole
Laid the scattered bones of a horse that
Became known as “Unlucky.”
Fascinated by this find, into that hole we climbed
Only to leave ourselves with no escape route.
After hollers and shouts, our luck too had
Run out and we resolved to settle
In for the night. Our backs to the wall
We sat with whistles to blow
Tunes as our call out for help.
As day finished up and the sun drifted
Down, it’s hard to know how long we
Chirped. Long enough that our Mom, full
Of worry, dragged Dad out to search
For these dumb boys who kept running off.
These whistles that they bought us
For just such a cause had led them
Unto our holey predicament. Mom found us
In our hole, with our backs against the wall,
Chirping like birds getting ready for the night.
Our father she found to haul us out of
The ground, too happy to scold,
These boys they raised to be bold.

From the Journal of Judy Sutherlin