“It’s kind of surprising that horses do live out here in the wild.”
– tourist quoted by an Outer Banks news affiliate

First, the auscultation. Your own? No, something more
distant, veiled. Hooves grooving wet sand. You can only guess
at what the fog obscures, can only imagine wild, its animal
depths, horses ridden purely by the salt-tang
of what keeps them inland. Ocean: brown-green murk
revealing nothing, not romantic as it ebbs
just briefly for the herd. As if one could
consider it dance. Envy? Does envy press
your foot to the gas? Truck, its hot grill, an intimacy:
hand slipped under a fog dress, asserting its place,
then asserting again. Soon, the rhythm
feeling natural, nearly. And what of consequence?
A lone mare dumb in the spray. The thump-
thump that stills it. Your tracks chase the coast
then disappear. Wasn’t it a bit like love?
Steel and flesh, a fog, the ocean.

Chris Joyner graduated from the U of Miami MFA program and currently resides in North Carolina with his two hounds. His honors include a feature in the Best of the Net Anthology, first place in Sixfold’s poetry contest, honorable mention in Winning Writers’ Sports Poetry and Prose Contest, and the Alfred Boas Poetry Prize. Find his poems in Floating Bridge Review, North American Review, B O D Y, and elsewhere.