Slipping the Halters On

by Donna J. Gelagotis Lee

We walked far to reach them, halters in our hands,
lead shanks loose over our fingers. At first,

they didn’t budge, but then they moved
a little farther away to graze. We came

to fetch them. We came with soothing words.
And we put the lead ropes around their necks

to lift their heads, their mouths full of grass,
and then we slipped the halters on. And so they followed us

back to the barn, where we groomed them
with soft brushes and attached the lead rope

to the other side of the halter before we pulled ourselves up
and onto their backs. And, finally, we lay the makeshift

reins against their necks. And we directed them to take us
where we thought we wanted to go.

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee is the author of two award-winning collections, Intersection on Neptune (The Poetry Press of Press Americana, 2019), winner of the Prize Americana for Poetry 2018, and On the Altar of Greece (Gival Press, 2006), winner of the 2005 Gival Press Poetry Award. Her poetry has appeared in publications internationally, including The Bitter Oleander, Feminist Studies, The Massachusetts Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her website is