The Letter Project

April 19, 2012

Special Delivery (240)

Filed under: Letters,Mailart — Theresa Williams @ 12:29 am
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 A letter and photograph from Sally Baker-Reece to Theresa Williams. 

Photograph by Sally Baker-Reece. Sent to Theresa Williams

29 March 2012

Dear Theresa,

Last spring this horrifying incident happened when we were studying The Book of

Nighmares by Galway Kinnell in Contemporary Poetry. Without Kinnellʼs dark influence,

I would have tried hard to forget these images, not kept notes that lead to this writing.

 

Outside it was nose-dripping cold but I was warm inside making memory books when

the late morning horizon turned blue as the last layer of fog lifted like written promises

on helium balloons destined to burst, hastened by an unleashed winterish wind in the

thawing pastures, howling like a screaming bitch through the cell phone when Judy

called, her voice muffled like the swish-swish sonogram sound on a gravid belly,

sobbing, hyperventilating. Scared that she was lying under a stallion my heart raced,

almost called 911 until I understood her cries, understood it was hopeless when I heard

I think Ollie died!

 

Ollie, the two-thousand pound black Percheron without pulse, lying in the mud with his

head on backward, an eye that would not close, one last tear frozen in time in his lower

lashes while Judy cried into my hair grieving the accident that happened on her watch

while the wind-whipped my facial bones and triggered a headache almost as monstrous

as that crisis, a threadbare flannel nightgown under my hooded down parka not warm

enough when we knelt to pet and apologize to the gentle giant lying motionless in the

mud outside the barn where the heartless cold muck had held his hoof stuck like a

suction cup when he startled, flung his huge head toward his hind quarter, twisted his

withers and broke his neck.

 

The big ones are fragile and fall hard, like our hearts when the mother of the young girl

who loved Ollie most rushed home in a business suit and mucking boots, crying over

and over and over sheʼs gonna die, sheʼs gonna die, sheʼs just gonna die! and I wished

she wouldnʼt say that after the trainer told us itʼs not your fault before he slipped into a

stall to call the horse undertaker.

 

This spring there are six horses in the pastures, grass Irish green already in mid March

and the ghost of Ollie by a stream painted on ceramic tiles (a beautiful gift from Allen) in

Judyʼs office, reminding her of the power of human compassion when we blame

ourselves, when a horse falls.

 S.A.R.

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