My house became a stable
when my wife gave birth to a horse.
Laid on her side, her legs scissored open,
when the nurse grabbed a hoof and pulled
my wife gave birth to a horse.
The sack fell away from his form
when the nurse grabbed a hoof and pulled.
The surprise of his snout
through the milky sack—
she held him like a child, his spindly legs bent over,
but I could only see his snout.
Slick and dark, he tremored on his cannons
and she held him like a child, his legs bent over.
When he ran, he was a graceful storm,
slick and dark, a cannon’s tremor.
I tried to understand
what sort of beast this was while he stormed
through the fields back to my house.
When I tried, I understood.
Wolves followed in the wake of his gallop
through the fields and back to my house,
flesh-sinking their teeth, eating
through his gallop. When the wolves came
it should have rained, but the sun
shone on their flesh-sunk teeth, eating
my stained breath. Furious light,
it should have rained, but in the sun
I held my horse by its neck. Memories
of light staining my breath,
his skin the color of insect wings,
holding each other like horses. In my memory
the trough refills, my boy walks back
through the cloud of insects unhatching,
through the field as some Lazarus.
Past the trough refilling, the boy who walked back
smelled of cracked flint, passing a tree
in the field like some Lazarus.
No longer laid on his side but his legs scissored open,
past a tree, smelling like cracked flint—
Son, I never told you my house is your stable.
Jacques J. Rancourt’s poems will appear from journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. His work has been anthologized in Dzanc’s Best of the Web, and Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he serves as a poetry editor for the literary journal Devil’s Lake.
Temper by Beth Bachman.
Rookery by Traci Brimhall.
National Anthem by Kevin Prufer.