No Matter the Details

                                                                           for Paula

We were seventeen.

You fell from a horse,

spent a week in a coma.

When I tell the story,

those are the facts,

the hard true things

I know with certainty

after more than forty years.

Sometimes when I tell the story,

the horse threw you

when he got spooked;

sometimes you leaned down

to adjust the stirrup

and slipped off.

You were on a road and fell

face first to the pavement,

or you were in a field and your head

hit a big jagged rock.

You were with another friend

or your step-sister

the horse ran off

or stayed and nudged you

the horse was a Palomino

he was an Arabian

your beautiful cornsilk hair

was in a ponytail

your beautiful cornsilk hair

was hanging loose

you wore a crimson t-shirt

you wore a pink paisley halter

you wore cutoffs

you wore jeans

you gasped

you tumbled silently

How would I know?

I wasn’t there. The details

came to me secondhand.

This is my story to tell now;

the details I provide

don’t matter because

no matter the details you died.

Daun Daemon has published poems and stories in numerous journals, including Delmarva Review, Dead Mule School, Third Wednesday, Typehouse Literary Review, Deep South Magazine, Into the Void, and Amsterdam Quarterly. Her memoir in poetry, A Prayer for Forgiving My Parents, was published in July (Kelsay Books). Daemon teaches scientific communication at North Carolina State University and lives in Raleigh with her husband and three cats.