BY CARA DEES
Together, we drove them to panic.
Saliva soaped their fine mouths
their precise chests. What is the horse except
a softer autumn the human except
a luckier set of teeth? Mother unsung
& elsewhere whose was the first hand
that curled your churchgirl hand to a fist?
When the neighbors licensed in injury
stalked the almond- tipped & shatterable
does of our forest what reckless mercy
sent you unarmed to chase the men out
your own kind-eyed ponies trussed
& bitted? Here (my half-
life) now (without) defend the day
you taught me to whip mares to force-wean
foals They were more
innocent than we gave them credit for
(hurt earth, hot- & hurt-hearted)
Mother undone their kindness was
they could not speak against us.
Cara Dees holds an MFA degree from Vanderbilt University. She is the recipient of a 2017 Pushcart Prize nomination, an Academy of American Poets Prize from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the 2015 Miller Williams Translation Award. She is also a finalist for Indiana Review’s 2016 Poetry Prize. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, diode poetry journal, The Journal, Southern Humanities Review, Unsplendid, and other publications.