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Issue 21, Poesía, Featured | October 2017


In the Belly of the Horse

In the belly of the horse, in the timber hull,
they left one guard to sleep through the siege
folded with clemency into himself. Among many,

one telling is this: the unwitting pacifist,
a boy beekeeper lost in the Greek dreamhills
of his nightmind. The body in its heaviness

that pulls him out of the war like wet clothes
and drowning, like being hauled back onboard
with a gasp, limp and dripping, hefted down

to the bilge by strong arms. Do we carry
some residual hibernation in us that says,
go dormant beneath floorboards? Is it fair
to say there are fights I wouldn’t want to win?

My brother trains horses to be unafraid
after neglect. For hours he rubs a halter
against his Arabian’s jaw until the straps

are closer to a comfort. He told me
he could train a goat or even a chicken,
anything with desire and memory.

He’s not my real brother. It doesn’t matter.
In the field I hold a coffee can that he gradually
empties of carrots and crumbling biscuits.

He holds a clicker, the sound of oars in their
locks at sea. The horse holds a belly of fight.
We are far from either shore.

Still that grave littoral pull of body sleep-sinking.
The night I forfeited my August wall and its coolness
for a tent in the yard. On my own, turning again
one number older (and incidentally asleep).

The meteor shower went on pummeling;
how that barrage had blanket-weight. 

I have come to know self-subterfuge as kindness.
The mythical knowing part of you yields in being
so stern, asks only if you need to bring a pillow, says

you can crawl back into the belly when you wake
to aloneness, discomfort, cold cowardice, mistrust. 
In the Belly of the Horse