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.