The Judas Horse

The Judas Horse

Poem by Jennifer Noel Bower
Artwork by Eleanor Leonne Bennett

In the Backyard:
we played cowboys and Indians
on a late summer day.
I, the squaw, wore hair
braided in pigtails, a single
white and black feather
poking out of my head
like a lemur tail peeking
up from the brush
revealing my position
as I scouted them out
incapable of speaking
the boys’ language.

J. C. brought the ‘Shootin Shells’
cap guns that left smoking puffs
of smelly burned paper
hanging in the air.
pap pap pap
pap pap pap
ricocheted around the yard as I
hoo hoo hoo hoo
hoo hoo hoo hoo’d
through my hand.
The battle was on.
I was unarmed.

Mark dressed the velvet red Stetson,
too big for his head,
like a dandy.
A six year old savior
with fringe on his pockets
flapping as he, the ‘Judas horse’
led me ’round back
where other boys from the block
circled up and corralled me.
The game turned to keep away.
A kiss, ponied up,
bought you freedom.


  1. So honored to be a contributor in Referential Magazine along with Melanie Faith. Her picture brought back a flood of memories and ideas. Thank you Jessie for being so supportive and inspirational.

  2. Simply – you guys rock! And make the work of putting this together fun 🙂

  3. Lovely. Great work.

  4. Very very very very very very very enjoyable work.

  5. I love this JN, and will have me smiling the rest of the day.

  6. Lynn Stanton

    Lovely poem, and paired so well with Melanie’s artwork.

  7. Thank you for all the wonderful comments.

  8. The fun continues — my response to Johnsie Noel’s poem, at my blog, a poem called Doctor that plays off the game of Cowboys and Indians —
    If the URL isn’t live, paste it into your browser.

  9. Thanks for posting the link Ray, it is live! I’m thrilled about the discussion going on here and offsite 🙂

  10. You’re welcome, jessie, and thank you for stirring the artistic pot.

  11. Yes, I love this one. One of your gifts is that your sense of place and scene draws me in like a sponge. I never tire of reading you.

  12. HA! I remember that Avatar from URBIS forums. [awesome] Chris! Thank you! You have mentioned my ‘sense of place’ on several occasions. It is amazingly helpful as I try to sculpt who I am as a writer/poet. Yes! The ever so ‘cliched’ VOICE. Your’s, Derek’s & Jessie’s I hear playing in my head as I write and edit. In a good way, as if I can see/hear you reading and commenting on my rough drafts. You all are helping to mold and shape me into the type of writer I am striving to become.
    PLACE. Yes! I picture precise moments in time I think out of a longing I’ve always had to feel rooted and connected to my environment. The emotional component is still a challenge for me to capture – it scares me! I really appreciate all the support.

  13. I love when you hear other writers you admire and/or work with telling you things like “hey do you really want to make the wind sing? really?” cause I need someone else talking to me besides just myself 🙂

  14. Jeanette Gallagher

    Love the art work, Love the poem! Playful and delightful! Brought back memories of long ago and childhood play. Such a great discussion, felt as if I were eavesdropping although learning simultaneously. Thanks to all.

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