In order to rise
without assistance
it is best to face
backward, stirrup turned
to accommodate

your turn as you mount,
starting by shoulder,
back turned to danger
(thick head of teeth, hoof,
motion’s potential),

facing the haunches,
and beyond, the past.
Hitch the left leg, foot
anchored in stirrup
higher than your waist,

clutch a hank of mane
and reins with one hand,
the saddle’s cantle
with the next, and turn,
right leg now all spring,

a new beast bouncing
on one leg (or five,
you a mere dangling
mass attached to this
monster silhouette),

bounce three times and leap—
whirl through air to face
forward now, at last
seated, reins gathered.
As easy as breath.

I’m not sure, years now
out of the saddle,
if I could still hike
my leg high, the foot
finding its stirrup.

If so, would the loose
leg remember how
to bounce, or contain
the power to raise
my body from ground

to wither, from past
to future, turning?
Some nights I waken
to find my left knee
pressed against my chest,

the right one stretched long,
reaching (the muscles
chemically slackened)
at times an unseen
ground, at others, sky,

midleap, toe pointed.
Directionless. This
position comforts
as much as it aches.