The Gift Horse

On looking in its mouth.

grayscale photo of a horse

She said, child, sometimes someone will approach you on the pretense of bearing a gift, but it will be none other than another version of Death, that old shapeshifter, dressed up in fancy wrapping and a bow.

This happens all the time, she said, and the method is to stuff the box full of sequins so that its these shiny, tiny nothings that fall to the floor when you open it. They are there to distract you from the extraction of your blood, one slow drop at a time.

She said, wait. It is also true that sometimes you will be handed something that reminds you of endings and you will groan and weep and mourn and wish somebody would take it back and tell you it never happened. But hang on, she said, because sometimes those are the places where your life is hiding, buried in the muck they tried to tell you was separate from the living.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

5 thoughts on “The Gift Horse”

  1. I can really identify with this piece, Stacey. It felt familiar and somewhat comforting to me as I’m losing my much-needed therapist in four weeks. The waiting list to see someone else is several months long, and I’m very scared to be without her support. Perhaps, I should stuff one of those little boxes I wrote about a couple of days ago, with brightly coloured and shiny sequins rather than fear what I will find in them when I next have the courage to look. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words. X 💕

    1. Ellie, I have been thinking about you and it means so much to me that this one resonated with you in this way. xoxo

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