They walked into the funeral home ready to beat a dead horse.

The rain had fallen last autumn into a river so ambivalent,
so lukewarm as to be below freezing. For freezing to be below it.
It had run on, the river and the horse in it. Water so clear
and ripples so convincing you kept thinking the horse would move, only
it had been so long with no bubbles, with teens drowned in the jockeying.

Horse and river had only been separated now, a year later.
In an autumn so hot it drove the town to harvesting the next season,
pulling the promise of cold wherever they could find it.
They walked in, the woman and the man, through swinging doors
like ones on a saloon, carrying their icepicks and baseball bats.

Only they were defibrillator paddles. Only it was CPR,
the breaking of the ribcage, and it was the breath of life
pummeling its way into the lungs. Gentle as a kiss,
or the hoofbeat approach of one.

Cali Kopczick is a writer and editor based in Seattle, Washington. She serves as the programming coordinator for Moss and her own writing can be found with The Offing, Pigeon Pages, Bone Bouquet, Crab Creek Review, and Outlook Springs, among others.