Water rushes down the hill behind the house.
It pools on the ground when there’s nowhere left to go,
pushes its way under the hall door.
Dark stains bloom on the kitchen walls.
Cracks emerge. Plaster bloats. The chimney breast weeps.
A horse appears from nowhere in the neighbouring field.
At night his white coat gleams on the dark hillside.
By day he turns his rump to us and huddles against the ditch.
His broad back drips. His coat turns dull grey.
I bring him gifts—apples, carrots—I cannot stay away.
The rain falls and falls. The horse’s ribs appear.
He tramples the food I bring into the sodden soil.
I picture him in my kitchen, his hooves thick with mud,
his flanks and shoulders shuddering with terror and relief.
I watch the rain steal his last trace of white.
He’s barely visible now, even in daylight.
I mourn his muscled neck, his powerful limbs and glossy coat.
I watch him fade away. He is too weak to raise his head.
At night my ghost horse haunts me, a shade in a dark field.
You failed me, his phantom whispers. I needed more than gifts.