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Deep Calls to Deep
P
o
e
m
s

Until I reached the paddock
where the gelding grey
collapsed, back hooves
clacking like stones to
fire, I didn’t know of the melanoma
buried like a rotten black

bulb in his cheek & neck. I came
only to see his viscera

tagged & marked, some,
like the penis, knotted

with tumors metastasized
from the initial onyx
jewel, sunk in a bucket for later
jars, a class next fall. The spleen
enlarged to a tumid berry-purple
from minutes-ago euthanasia. I know
that empathy is just the body’s
twinging, its infinite note

held on self, but as I cupped
the black cancer, so much like

my own, warm & dense
as hope, I felt that design

held me in belief’s cold
rigor. No, I felt alone—

among the bio students
chorusing Wolff’s Law,

bone will adapt to loads
of pressure—me in my inappropriate

shoes, cotton flats wet
from the dewy pasture,

awkward as a severed
horse’s leg twitching

in the grass, my heart
of muscle remade.