Night Terrors

offering 2

By Robin Steere Axworthy

Where is Dad going, pulling on his boots, hard, one-two, like that?
Why is he angry? Why is his jaw clamped tight and working
like he’s angry? Why? What have we done? Have we done something?
Why am I afraid? Why are you looking out the window?
What has happened? Didn’t she just leave? Isn’t everything ok?
Isn’t this just another ordinary ride on the horses into the hills?

Why are two horses saddled in the driveway?
Why is he shoving needles, syringes, vials in his bag? Why?
Is a horse sick? Are you crying? Why is the house dark?
Where is Mom? Has she gone up the trail into the hills?
What is this stone on my heart? Why can’t I cry?
Why are you scared? Why has he saddled two horses?

What are we supposed to do while he is gone? Will you help
with the younger ones? Why are they so quiet? How can we get the baby
to stop crying? Why are we huddled here in the dark room?
What do you see that I do not? What do you see in the dark?
Why is this stone on my heart? How does it press so hard?
Why am I scared? Why are there two horses tied up in the driveway?

Will he be able to bring her back? Will he get there in time?
What will she do? Why isn’t she home now that it’s night?
Why did she leave us in the dark? Wasn’t she only going out
down the road, up Rattlesnake Creek, along the trail, up into the hills?
Isn’t this just another ordinary day? Was she afraid?
Did she have a stone in her heart? Why are there two horses waiting outside?

When they get back, what will we see? Will the lights go on?
Will she be riding, upright, our own mother? Or will he give her a shot
like the horses to make her quiet? Will she be crying? Will she be mad
that he went to find her when she ran away? Did she want to be found?
I do when I run away, always want to be found: why did she run away?
What if she doesn’t want to be found? Will she want the horse?

Why are you crying? Dad tells us stay here and wait, but why can’t we go too?
Why is he hurrying with his bag, the one he takes out on calls for sick horses?
Why can’t I speak and call goodbye, come home soon?
Why am I silent? Why are they crying? Why is it dark?
Why are there two horses? Will they both come home?
Will there be two coming home?

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