We fed apples to the horses,
and pulled their riders down.

Gave them coffee – lavender lattes,
sweet and gentle on their tongues –
pistachio and almond biscotti –
raspberry mimosas –
apple pie.
Salads with fresh field greens.

Wait until the rain pauses,
we said. Give yourselves a break.
Let the planet breathe.

The rain came down in pulsing sheets.
War wanted another cup.
Pestilence a cranberry tart.
The lights flickered above.
The wind shrieked against the solid walls.
The scent of coffee filled the air.
The rough horses fell asleep.
Somewhere, someone began to build.
The rain lingered in the wind.
Someone else began to sing.

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Mari Ness
Mari Ness worships chocolate, words and music, in no particular order. Her work has also appeared in Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Uncanny, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, and multiple other publications. Her poetry novella, Through Immortal Shadows Singing, which deals in part with enduring a ten-year siege, is available from Papaveria Press. She lives in central Florida.