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  • Writer's pictureWriters In The Mountains

Chief by Amy Schneiderbeck

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

A staccato barrage of hooves whirls underneath me. I clutch his coarse mane. Braided

reins slack from fingers to snaffle. Wind shrieks in my ears. We rocket down the Greenbelt Trail. Chief angles through turns and stretches, achieves high speed levitation. Determines the

straightest route through the serpentine path. My knees squeeze tight. Skim past encroaching

bark. I fold close to his neck, peer through his black-tipped ears. The turn for Bunces Bridge

comes up fast. Where I’d alarmed anglers on a deer-provoked gallop over the wooden-planked bridge and flushed ducks that spun us around the time before. We pass the turn by Middle School anxiety more distant than the barn. Chief slows to a canter, breaks to a choppy trot, roots his nose, and stumbles into a walk. Canada geese honks echo through the woods from the main pond of the preserve. Chief veers off the trail onto a grassy area beside the water to graze. I lie backward, head cradled by his round rump, my feet dangle free of the stirrups. I splay open, a starfish.

From Creative Non-Fiction with Anique Taylor, and When Space Speaks classes with Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

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