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WHEN THE WATER BROKE / Stephen Tapscott my mare stretched longer. She breathed fast steam. Where her bulk settled the shape of her in snow melted and formed again, puckered in iceballs, her fluids froze as she spilled: she could not see where she worked her body heavily. I could have run through my fear as through an old house, the wooden hall, across the long verandah, and run toward the moon aligned on the fencepost. And I thought, if it is wild, that vast space, its violence must be formal as an animal. I hid among planets. Snow hung in the anaesthetic air. And when the colt began to dive, folding its face against those long legs—pastern muzzle ears— when it slid and entered, its firstbody heat sizzling through air— spine belly haunch—all body in its sheeting of white veins no other space seemed possible than this space, specific in mystery. Which was the background here? and which the figure? The mare watched me sidelong as I lifted it, tethered and steaming, and peeled the sac: the littlehorse shook itself loose from its flesh material 24 · The Missouri Review and lifted itself—the idea of it!—and stood a moment between its mother's legs, the two of them breathing and disjunct, before she spoke, throating low once, and rose to it, and turned to nurse. Stephen Tapscott The Missouri Review · 25 ...


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