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.


Rancourt-1.jpgJacques 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.

Poet’s Recommendations:

Temper by Beth Bachman.

Rookery by Traci Brimhall.

National Anthem by Kevin Prufer.

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism.

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.