I Take Shelter under the Stables by Nicholas Yingling

because it’s hailing in the desert
and the horses seem unmoved by a sky
full of loose teeth. Each in its own cell
going about the business of life. Only one
mare presses the bars of her stall
and though her bite could unstring a hand,
mine reaches to record the feel of her
which I will call horse. As a child
I chewed up the world to know what is
and is not self. Blanket. Grass. The mare
too is full of divisions and I half
expect my fingers to part her body
like a curtain I might step through—her
cone heart that locks stride with the groom’s
brush or bursts through the gate, five full
pumps a second, ten gallons, the rider
like some baroque angel above clenching
the air, the bit, the sickle skull driving
into the thin blade of its own blindness.
Outside the hail stops. In the rain I am
a single organ of sense. I think
poppies, rust, hills. I say The poppies
rust on the hill while in another country
painted ladies hang their patterned wings
to dry.
Nicholas Yingling’s work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Notre Dame Review, Spillway, Fourteen Hills, Bellingham Review, Rock & Sling, and others. He received his MA from UC Davis and splits his time up and down the Pacific Coast.