Queen Charlotte is a Horse 1
Thing is we’re growing
old together, that mare and I.
Our bodies are mutually lumped and scarred,
we sag where we used to billow.2 I outnumber her
in bits of grey and useless possessions3
but her hide is scalier, her digestive system
in better working order.4
We put up with things: long winters,
barb wire, herds that seem too small.
We know our own habits, eat like
clockwork, expect mud to follow ice
and raise our heads suspiciously at change.5
The simile ends. I don’t hear
any wondering coming from her soft
lips about what she’s done with her life.
The ground is cold and wet
soon a body will be able to dig a hole.
The tulips are poking up, 2 inches high now,
their stems are a dark green, brutal.
In bloom they’ll hoist their flimsy red buckets,
full of whatever turns a bee on.
Every year they play their procreation game.6
Now given half a chance Queen Charlotte
would eat those tulips, top to bottom,
then paw the bulbs up for dessert.
Really she doesn’t give a rat’s ass
about the needs of bees
and never thinks of beauty.
1 and she greets me with a stuttering rumble, soft as the low putt-putt of a seagull engine, telling me she’s hungry.
2 Or play as Leonard Cohen would have it.
3 Electronic rat zapper, Swiffer Duster, pizza wheel, etc.
4 If horseshit is any indicator, both texture and volume.
5 The new horse trailer, HST.
6 That’s another thing my mare and I have in common, too old for babies but not for sex.
Published online March 01 2012.
Originally from New York, Deirdre Dore lives in British Columbia where, when not writing, she works with trees. She has won awards from Canadian Authors Association, Short Grain, and recently the story Sappers Bridge won the Western Magazines award for fiction. We Sing You, Jimmy Sky, a chapbook of poetry, is available from dancing girl press in Chicago. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is currently at work on a collection of short fiction.