POETRY CONTEST WINNER
BY ELIZABETH ONESS
The aging broodmares bloom in the meadow
and lift their noses to the north.
They are a counter-balance to cataracts,
oxygen tanks, and surgery.
You study the back of the flea-bitten grey,
her flesh scarred by hooves.
The price of begetting is rippage and scars,
but after the long winter
her dark teats are waxing and her bags
are growing full.
Cornflower, wild carrot, swallows dipping
through the barn,
Sunlight on the porch step, the kicked-off Crocs,
the faded fence—.
The mare lies in the pasture, then tries to rise,
front legs a bridge,
hocks and fetlocks unfolding. She grunts the way
a tired person pushes from a chair.
Come June, the foal’s hooves will be cauled
by fleshy curls, worn
as they tamp the stones and turf
of this radiant, dispassionate earth.