Early morning, the broken surf,we awake to stiffening cries.The mare is shot in the water.
When hurt, animals recall eachother; the wounded horse becomesthe cat, then the catbird's wails.
All season, the sand seededwith squid or whale or birds in oil.Now a bullet lodges in a horse's [End Page 28]
throat, near bloodless, neat as an egg.There is a kind of shocked greenthis spring, as if the forsythia,
past its bloom, sprung from a chemicalpool. Or the azaleas, not contentwith purple, white, mauve,
have formed a fourth petal, brightwith rain. A rancher lets his horsesloose, knowing next year they will
bring back friends. He will doublehis herd, brand every one: a blackmouth, his mark in the neck.
The fava drowned and then the tomatoes.Each rose in the lap of our blessings, afterso much drought, our answer, the rainchanging the earth like a chemical boom:solid be liquid, liquid be ever. That bea dollar, said the Amish at market whenwe lingered over their bread, said as ifwilling the loaf's transformation into ourarms. At first the rain was welcome.We thought it was our doing. Standingoutside, the earth seemed to open, gatheringmud in pockets like mouths. We did notsee these were also like lesions, wounds [End Page 29] that would never repair. Our seeds swamaway in them. Our shoes stuck at the bone.In ditches and gullies, the grass swamlike cilia, and the water was not pure. No.It was full of us, flaked with rock and wood,televisions, mattresses, car hoods, mail.It went away. It all goes away. The leavingsof our bodies left us, floated, were lost.
Alison Stine's first full-length book, Ohio Violence, won the Vassar Miller Prize and is forthcoming from the University of North Texas Press. She has work upcoming in Agni and 32 Poems.