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Riding a Dead Horse

22 April, 2020: Riding a Dead Horse

Read a Poem

Riding a Dead Horse

by Barbara Marie Minney

Riding that horse
     as far as it would go
plodding through Death Valley
     like a lost cowboy
          in a grainy black and white western
bones bleaching in the sun
     half buried by the swirling sands
Ronald Reagan narrating in the background.
Sixty years wandering 
     through the arid wasteland 
          on a horse that was already dead
sunburned skin 
     blistering in the flare of the sun
searching for the watering hole
     that would quench 
         my dry, parched soul.
That horse should have
     been put out of its misery long ago
          laid to rest in a holy sepulchre 
revered for carrying me so long
     until finding the silver stallion
         vanquishing the evil doers
riding off into the sunset
          with a hearty hi yo, silver.
“Riding a Dead Horse” by Barbara Marie Minney from If There’s No Heaven.  Poetry Is Life Publishing, 2020.  Used by permission of the author.
Barbara Marie Minney lives in Tallmadge, where she writes personal and emotional poetry about her feelings, thoughts, and passions while struggling to live her truth as a transgender woman.  Her poetry has been or will be published in the 50th Anniversary Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology, the 2019/2020 Women of Appalachia Project’s Women Speak!, the Gasconade Review #5, and the Voices of Real 4 and has been exhibited at the Summit Art Space and Art x Love. Her first book of poetry, If There’s No Heaven, will be published in May of 2020 by Poetry Is Life Publishing. Barbara’s website can be found at

Write a Poem

Write a poem using a horse cliché in a way that is not clichéd but is new and vibrant: dark horse, hold your horses, horse play, horse of a different color, eat like a horse, get off your high horse, charley horse, one horse town.

We went to see the horse play.
Foals and fillies frolicking.
A mane show for the main show.
Strutting stallions - a myriad of mares.
Till the curtain came down.
And the scene withered away.
4/28/2020 9:00:56 PM

It's tough for a horse in a one-horse town
To be picked for every job.
To plow the fields
And pull the carts
To carry every rider.
No choice for shoes or saddle vote
or hours not for hire.
A one-horse town needs lots of work,
But work can be rewarding.
For once that horse can hang its tack,
A one-horse meal lies waiting.
4/23/2020 12:50:54 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.