Icelandic Horses

Mindless of our rented truck’s grunting, spitting,
and the volcano’s eye for black numbers,
they muzzled through charred grass in the black sand,
unmountable when spied from the road.
Hardly the bold images from a paperback
Eddas, half-read on the dashboard.
Shame we don’t have time to adjust
for them to grow mighty and reckless
like Arabians beneath a crescent moon.

The sickle of winter fell quickly that year
without Bedouin tents or mythical lore
to cradle the island’s hunger.
Our first night back in Reykjavik,
past the brennivín haze of our restaurant,
six seamen dragged empty nets through the streets.
Bookstores offered twenty translations for each saga,
each sword twenty renowned sufferings:
an endless search for herring in a fishless sea.

About the author

A Bostonian by birth, John Sibley Williams currently lives in Vienna and has traveled throughout Central and Eastern Europe. He has crisscrossed the US…

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Issue 06 · August 2009

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