A Horse Named Pandora
by Ute Carson
Candian Horse Journal, January / February 2022

Kneeling, we formed a circle
as our beloved ailing mare, now 34,
sank down gently onto her right side
in the lush grass beneath us.
"In all my years of practice," our vet mused,
"I have never witnessed a horse lower herself
so purposefully after the first mild sedative."
Pandora's luminous brown eye was watching me.
What was she signaling?
Then I understood. She blinked slowly,
giving me permission to let her go.
My tear-stained palm closed her soft eyelid.
A single shiver as the injection stilled her heart,
and her tail unfurled in a flourish like a braid undone.
Pandora exhaled twice,
sending two foggy breaths curling into the air.
Thus did her weakened body come to rest, peacefully.
Is a horse's soul snorted through its velveteen nostrils?
Because I believe in the mystery of those windblown puffs,
I whispered: "The night is never dark. The light is never far."
As a cloud in the shape of a fuzzy horsehead
sailed across the gray sky,
the sun broke through with a final blessing.

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