Just Horses

And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth….

— Revelation 6:4 (KJV)

No crown, bow, sword;
no pair of inhuman scales—
just five terrified horses running
the streets of the great city.

Was there blood? There was—
and fire and hunger and blindfolds
and handcuffs and dirt and shrouds.

The sound of the future was loud:
Clop-clop! Clop-clop! The sound
of the future was a whoosh
then a blast. The sound of the future
was a buzzing that never slept nor wept.

A taxi swerved. A bus had its windshield
shattered. Someone ducked, someone
ran. An ambulance rushed the hospital.

There were five horses, wide-eyed
and galloping. They wore empty saddles;
they did not need riders. Death and Hell
were secure in their offices—sat at the table
with their minions studying maps and reports,
busy with the science of suffering and death.


Matthew Murrey is the author of Bulletproof (Jacar Press, 2019) and the forthcoming collection, Little Joy (Cornerstone Press, 2026). Recent poems can be found in The Ekphrastic Review, Roanoke Review, ballast and elsewhere. He was a public school librarian for 21 years, and lives in Urbana, IL with his partner. His website is at https://www.matthewmurrey.net/ . He can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bluesky under the handle @mytwords. Read other articles by Matthew, or visit Matthew's website.