Galloping in Darkness – by Annette Sisson

He claims the basement bedroom of his parents’
three-story, rolls the walls in black,
inks the shallow ceiling. A three-dimensioned
midnight to slip into. Inside this box

he piles equestrian medals, math
awards, golden mitts crowned
with baseballs, to stow in the attic, far
from his mother’s polishing cloth, his father’s

swagger and framed degrees. At sixteen
he loathes the weight of trophies—coins
to feed the machine of his parents’ need.
He wonders what life will be, doesn’t

see his shoulders broadening. His fingernail
traces the floor tile’s grout
as if it mapped the future. In the windowless
room he longs for night air,

heads outside, past the orchard,
lifts the barn’s latch, the saddle.
Boots in stirrups, twitch of mane,
animal pulse—he turns into galloping

wind, a bitter tearing through dark,
blind to snags, low branches.
He hunches into the horse’s neck, coursing
toward flecks of dawn, panting for light.


Annette Sisson’s poems can be found in Birmingham Poetry Review, Rust and Moth, The Citron Review, Typishly, One, and others. Her book Small Fish in High Branches was published by Glass Lyre 5/22 and her chapbook by Finishing Line 5/19. She was a Mark Strand Scholar for the 2021 Sewanee Writers’ Conference and 2020 BOAAT Writing Fellow. She has been a finalist and semifinalist in various contests, including Frontier New Voices and Fish Poetry Prize, and has been nominated for Best of the Net multiple times. Her new book manuscript, Winter Sharp with Apples, is questing for a publisher.