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"Plastic Horses" - Heather Lyttle

Painted horses dance around me;
someone must’ve captured them,
turning them into these plastic creatures
for children to ride; twenty-five cents apiece.

Colorful designs on their bodies force them
to appear happy.  I should have noticed
expressions they carried, tortured ones, with
their eyes budging wide, horrified by their captors.

As if the drooling kid, the wretched music
that sounds for the artificial circus coming to town,
and the lollipop stuck to its firm mane had
been too much.  I suppose this is when carousel
workers would have some sympathy on them,
putting a chain around the neck;
“Out of Order, This Horse Needs Rest.”