The pacifist

Poetry by Evan Nicholls
Issue 69 • November 2018 • Delaplane

The sky is a flat stone.

There is guano blotched on a rusty horse trailer. Every night, a new bomb drops with a modest roll from the wind and explodes. The roof of the trailer is brown and mottled white. There is a hole in the corner.

The horse trailer belongs to a pacifist. In younger years, he had a horse. He ran the horse in rings, but the horse is gone now. The trailer is russet, and the grass has been hugging it for a long time. Now the hug is no longer a hug. All of the tack is inaccessible, along with a saddlebag of photos. These from another day.

Close by is the pacifist’s house. In the middle of the night, while the big-eared bats play air-raid, he has a vision. The grass has vanished. He opens the trailer. The quarter horse is russet and alive again. But its eyes, vacant. He opens the saddlebag, buckskin dark and falling in pieces. The photos have all been vacated.

The pacifist wakes up in a cold fever. He throws the quilt from his legs. Goes in front of the hearth and builds a fire. When the fire is hot enough, he reaches into it. He feels for chimney stone on the other side.

He only feels the sky.

Evan Nicholls is a poet from Fauquier County. Follow him on Twitter @nicholls_evan, read more at

The Whurk Week

Five cool things happening in Virginia each week. Delivered to your inbox Monday mornings. Sweet.

More From Issue 69
More Poetry Features
Other Recent Stuff