Sometimes, back then, I was a girl.
And I was roomdark: a candle and a spell.
In the mirror, a flicker brings blue horses.
Flare as the fearsong that calls to their hooves,
their lips closing on black apples,
bruised glass. Let, quivers
the wet wick. Let.
In the mirror a flare. Light’s starved clatter and wrack.
each day her legs thicken. Her black phone rings. As the
water boils, the cup fills, the hands
I had back then
fetch the white bowl from the kitchen. Over the clavicle the skin
blooms. Let me. Her mouth remains still, a seam, a pearl, but the candle
tells with light, in the safe place—
syntax of tremble, withhold.
Belief tongues the grassy air.
A vision could shine manes in night silk.
A vision could be galloping at high speed
from the waiting room
where, on the other side of the wall,
—I remember how it moaned a radio hum—
the doctor is also counting down.
In the white bowl, home, the movie starts again.
The horses growl like rainchoked violins. The bowl is afraid,
spinning vicious like a moon.
When I burned the eggs I burned the whole pan.
Hooves slam sand blue as a bruise.
Only safe when she’s wax, slipping—Let me,
Let. The candle sings to the ends of her dress
and the dust is rising.
When I burned the pan I ran
out into the empty parking lot.
Everyone else was at work.
Everyone else had grown up.
I hid it for good in the trash.
There are whole rooms, she learns, made for waiting.
Chrome after chrome chair willing to hold her.
I hid it for good, for good.
Next I hid my shoes.
Tender as the dead, the mares dip their necks
to the longhaired stars. Let me thirst and heat. They huff
at her hunger: let.
In the sapphire dark and nicker of that year, I learned.
Let me bite. Let me cook the light.
Again how to meadow and mouth.
Again, soft manes, how to ask you
and burn: gutter, gutter and tell.
Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters and No Eden, and Darling Hands, Darling Tongue, a chapbook from Hyacinth Girl Press. Her poems have appeared in Quarterly West and The Journal, and are forthcoming in Pleiades and The Gettysburg Review.