Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Horse Egg

Thomas Reynolds


Every family has a language of its own,
buzz words or phrases serving as shorthand.

"Horse egg,"
from the Reynolds family dictionary,
means something you want so bad,
your desire so overwhelming,
no act, regardless of the potential
(nay, the surety) of debasement,
can stop your effort to attain it.

The origins of the word?
Low Gap, Arkansas. Christmas.
My father was three,
his father just back from Kansas City.
What Christmas could a father provide
at the height of the Depression,
who had traveled so far to pay the bills?

Several sticks of hard candy and a coconut,
which he labeled, whether out of cruel humor
or pity (possibly both), a "horse egg."

"Just sit on it like an old hen, cluck a few times,
and you'll hatch a pony, a brown Shetland
just your size with speckles on its belly."

Laughter resounded among the walls,
as he and his sister took turns,
a regular chicken coop at dawn,
with Grandpa the fox.

***

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, Midwest Poetry Review, Potpourri, Ariga, Strange Horizons, Combat, American Western Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, Ash Canyon Review, and Orphan Leaf Review. Reynolds' two poems, "Wanda's Fried Chicken and "78s," are included in the book Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology.

© Thomas Reynolds

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012