Julia Johnson

Transparent Horse (I)

Equine anato­my fills the room,
a muz­zle at the edge of the rug,
its pastern between the coro­net and fetlock,
you are hap­py it is evening.
The can­non bone is spec­tac­u­lar and sharp,
and I hold the left one
to the light. I like the sti­fle and so
I give it to you. The hoof, upside down
shows clear­ly the frog–the tri­an­gu­lar area underside.
We turn him to see the gaskin, between
the hock and the stifle.
We place the with­er and the neck
like logs near the box it came in.
You tell me about the check ligaments,
a sys­tem that lock in posi­tion, allow­ing standing-up
sleep. The bel­ly and the bar­rel need
the joints before we can go on.
I press my fin­ger to the poll at the skull, slight­ly behind
where ears would go if they were included.
You cross the room with the tail in your hand.
Julia Johnson is author of Naming the Afternoon from LSU Press. Her new book, The Falling Horse, will be pub­lished in fall 2011 by Factory Hollow Press.