p
o
e
m
s

 

After the snakebite, I tried to make noises

        With the clouds in my throat, the dissolving

Snow of my tongue: but the young ones

        Kept crying and calling and couldn’t hear me.

How could I have explained anyway my surprise?

        Not the kiss of the branding iron’s signature,

Not the crop’s electric shock, the bit’s silver

        Felt ever as sweet to me as his firm teeth.

Decline is a river you fall into, your hind legs

        Unsteady on the slippery bank.

Your last sight a spray of delicious gillyflowers

        Bright enough to be suns.

There’s so much you realize you’ll never miss.

        Mornings in the sludgy mist. The saddle hours.

The way children comb and braid your mane

        Then look at you as though for repayment.

In the ring, on the bridle path, how enormous I

        Was floating above them while they rode me

As I practiced the art of surrender,

        Holding my thoughts separate as a kite—

I might as well have been on my own planet of dust,

        Forever careering through shadow fields

Till I saw those eyes sparking green from the dark,

        Till I let him shake my body with one touch.

Monica Ferrell’s second collection of poetry, Oh You Absolute Darling, will be published by Four Way in September 2018.

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