Thomas Lux

1946 / Northampton, Massachusetts

The Horse Poisoner

No one knew why horses were dying — two from two farms over,
one in town, three at the poor farm (not in great shape,
anyway, so no
concern at first), then the mayor's son's pony,
then three stalls in a row
at the local sulky track. The vet sent blood to the State Police,
who sent it to Boston for "further analysis."
Meanwhile, two more died.
One so old it was no surprise,
and another mistaken for a deer and shot.
Some people wanted to make a connection,
but the errant hunter was cousin to the sheriff
and was known as too dim to pull off
a string of horse poisonings.
There were no more suspicious deaths
in the county for two months. Then three, lying down
next to each other, seen first by my cousin Freddy
at dawn in the town square.
He delivered newspapers.
Horses rarely lie down flat
unless they're sick, or dead.
Test results came back
from Boston and, Freddy said, also the Feds.
Inconclusive, though each necropsy
showed that the poison
was delivered with the aid of a carrot
or a sugar cube in a carrot.
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