“Noctis Equi” by Megan Arkenberg

I see them sometimes
at the end of a shift, dragging their hooves.
All the sordid nocturnal horrors tangle in their manes:
muggings, murders, rapes, two-in-the-morning
anxieties, babies crying in the cold,
the graveyard stint at a gas-station counter
just to pay the bills.
They trot, unhurried. Why should they run
for the end of the day?

And the days when I would hurry them,
when I would come galloping, galloping
into the arms of night
have passed away with you.

I see them coming, the horses of night,
grinding the day to trampled grit,
kicking up the dust of buried sadness
with their star-edged hooves.
They come and go as fast
as they ever did, though these days
I could better understand reluctance.
Why should anyone welcome the night?
What business do I have hurrying into
the darkness you are long past following?

Megan Arkenberg’s work has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Ideomancer, and dozens of other places.
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