The Interview — after Caravaggio
In four weeks you won’t remember I broke
horses. My sun-dark hands will fade to match
my chest; I’ll be all white for you by then.
My father in the door there now won’t come
anymore to hold my clothes. He’s finding me
something to do: a usefulness. Paint them sun-dark,
give him something to show I was his son before you
made me into the Baptist of Arezzo. This robe, this red
it looks important, expensive. Smart to wrap
it around my leg; pink and scarlet
and white skin from the fire. The burns twisted
and stretched in strings, a spider’s web stocking
of mottled plum-colored skeins from the ankle to the knee,
with the bone set wrong underneath fastened
to my useless foot—all of it hidden. I was lucky
to get out before the stable collapsed.
Breaking a colt means holding his head close
and whispering to him what you want.
He needs to hear you near his ear, smell you.
Liberty Work is when you take him out
but only to lead him in circles. Use brushes carefully,
so that he knows your touch, then Sacking Out
will train the startling from him. Look, my father
won’t watch me telling secrets. You introduce
an empty saddle, then after, a bit and bridle.
Climb on slowly, masterfully, keep your seat
firm. A horse will know when you are afraid,
and knowing this he will throw you.
Noah Stetzer is a 2014 graduate from The MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and also a scholarship recipient from the Lambda Literary Retreat for Emerging LGBT Writers and from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.