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Barb
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“Forgiveness, Horse!”

-Richard II

We drag snappers in seines all day through muck
Thick enough it’ll steal a shoe if you let it.

The beaver-sticks prick our pale white legs that flash
Like fish under pond water. Minnows flash like memory.

We piss in our shorts, eat roast beef waist-deep in water.
We repair the snags with twine from the glove box.

The minnows we sell to Jerry’s, the sharp beaked turtles
Are thrown in the road and run over with the pickup.

One day when we’re dragging, the storm crawls up
On its belly through the prairie grass and milky sunlight,

So we go below and press our cheeks to the cellar
Glass, milky too, with hard-water from the sprinkler,

And the old horses head for the trees, where they know
Shelter, which we know is shelter too. The young horse

Whirls in the corral, paws as if snake-bit, runs headlong
Through the barb-wire fence, wraps her neck like a spool

Of thread, wound with our own hands. We ask if she believes
In forgiveness, if there will still be blood after the rain stops.

We learn to measure time by hoof-beats, recite love splinting
A chicken-hawk’s wing, the same that took two hens already

We ask the rendering man if death can be understood,
So he shows us the hooked sow that has eaten her young.

J.P. Grasser  

J.P. Grasser is originally from Maryland. His work explores the diverse regions he has called home, most insistently his family’s fish hatchery in Brady, Nebraska. He studied English and Creative Writing at Sewanee: The University of the South and is currently an MFA student in poetry at Johns Hopkins University. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, The Journal, Ninth Letter, Nashville Review, and Harpur Palate, among others.

Copyright © 2013 University of Wisconsin Board of Regents
Project MUSE® - View Citation
J.P. Grasser. "Barb." Cream City Review 37.2 (2013): 58-58. Project MUSE. Web. 20 Jan. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Grasser, J.(2013). Barb. Cream City Review 37(2), 58. Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
J.P. Grasser. "Barb." Cream City Review 37, no. 2 (2013): 58-58. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 20, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - Barb
A1 - J.P. Grasser
JF - Cream City Review
VL - 37
IS - 2
SP - 58
EP - 58
PY - 2013
PB - Department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
SN - 2166-014x
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cream_city_review/v037/37.2.grasser.html
N1 - Volume 37, Number 2, Fall/Winter 2013-2014
ER -

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