Poetry by Guinotte Wise

Hot Rod Nights, Ice House Days

In the Fifties, Kansas City, summer,
worked the ice houses from Waldo to
downtown. Cold. Gloves and parka
work that was. Boots.

The big blocks came down a chute,
you grabbed them with the tongs to
slow them down. Ice floor. Slick.
Some would get away.

They’d hit the wall sparkling crash
but you’d use those pieces for the
smaller sacks of ice, run them in
the crusher. Coke ice.

Hours later, you’d emerge into the
heat, the night, the languid energies
and possibilities, crickets, tree frogs
Plaza drive-ins. Girls.

Driving on cheap gas, twenty five
cents a gallon, loud pipes, drifting,
radio trailing sounds, Maybelline
why can’t you be true.

That primered car, those sounds
made parents scowl as you darkened
their driveway, hoodlumatic they
thought immediately.

Not so, of course, but you would
become them. Years. Your Driveway.
But now, morning comes too soon, the
icehouse too cold.

The Last Horse

She made it through an awful winter
Lay down to take the sun, lay down
on Harley’s grave, a favorite graze

Hours later, she was still there so I
walked to her and checked up on her
she raised her head, lay it down again

Dusk was coming night falling fast
I tried to get her up with rope and
halter but she was too weak and so

winter-spent, too damn tired to do
more than chuff and roll her eyes
grunt once and sigh, I dialed the vet

and by lantern-light he gave her rest
to last all winters and join Harley 
once again in a place where nothing

suffers heat or cold or flies or fear
Amy joins Harley, Lopez, Mighty
Mouse on the south side of the trees

where they all gathered to graze on
windy days, protected by the pines
Jeremy brought his big tracked loader

and laid her gently in her portal to
the place she’ll never hunger, where
pain is nonexistent and the grass is

truly greener than it ever was before
Amy is the last horse and we wish her 
well, godspeed sweet and gentle girl.

Learn more about Guinotte Wise, writer and sculpter, here

About the contributor

Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Five more books since. A 5- time Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review, Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

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