Roy Bentley


All the Pretty Horses

The trees budded that month,
first the redbuds then dogwoods,
and someone I noticed noticed me—
Iowa woman with blatant blue eyes,
a body articulate in several languages,
including the lingua franca of sighing.
When we fell together that first time,
neither of us gave any thought to how
sound travels. Testifies to everything.
Which is to say, she was a screamer
living in an apartment with thin walls.
My place wasn’t much. Or much better.
She said she’d been a singer. Played
piano, but the piano player part of her
had wandered off. She sang for me—
sang “All the Pretty Horses” while
the Ohio air was vanishing blossoms
and the soft exhale of the everyday.

ROY BENTLEY is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA, as well as fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and Ohio Arts Council. His fifth book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, was selected as a finalist for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize by Billy Collins. A new book, American Loneliness, is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press.