Will Baker




Notes on the misery of beasts

“Dear girl, do you really think he wants this?”

“A lame horse is no good horse.”

Splayed out in the iced hay,
mane matted, back clef’d,
he recalls himself
as a foal -
drunk on the mirage
of stable anesthesia
and the warm bath
that rinsed from him
his mother,
rickety-kneed and dilated
in awe of the burning, 
blinding summer.
He wets his dry lips,
they dry,
and he wets them again. 

The splinter of his limbs
shiver in holiday communion
and nip at his nerves,
lest he forget his hot blood
in the cold cold. 

To the stained earth,
long-since carved into fits 
by his thrashing
and now frozen in such,
he pleads for his throat
for with it, he could whinny
and promise the girl 
haste and might come spring.
Laugh the flora.
To the rotten ceiling of the barn
he pleads for his arms, 
for with them, he could drag away
his histrionic tragedy
and save this girl
from his mess. 
Laugh the walls,
come the storm.

“And a horse wants to be good.”

Leaden in the light snow,
heaving for hours about a second,
his eyes flit -
the he who owns, the she who cares,
and the it that relieves them
of the onus of suffrage,
pealing spurious encomium
across the yellow countryside
and through the incising gale
to call on wet-cheeked widows
and their hungry daughters - 
a herald of faith
in the soon-coming meat
and it may be tough
but it will be sweet.

— 2010