National Poetry Month: ALL HOOVES AND TEETH by Jade Benoit
All Hooves and Teeth
by Jade Benoit
My body is no way to behave.
Last night, I fell asleep in my horse fur again
and I’m sorry. I know my habits are getting
out of hand but the animal sieved through me so deep
I even wore my fur out in the rain and shed a whole layer,
ruining all the kitchen towels. And that boy
is looking at me. Do you see him.
How he’s looking. Like he knows about the bite marks
I keep leaving behind me, like he can see
my hooves trying to hold a dinner knife in old-time
cotillion fashion. And it’s not that I’m a boy. I swear
I’m not. It’s just that, do you know what plucked fur
looks like floating loose in bath water. Do you.
It’s unnatural. So please don’t look at my body
and what he’s done to it.
It’s fucked up. It’s never functioned properly.
I’m all crosshatched, alternating white red grey
and my spine went pale from all the
that tried to flee from my throat, instead
it grew so backwards and crowded inside me
that all I could do was hold on tight to his body
to make myself feel like I was still part
of the ground. Meanwhile, he just kept
painting and painting me in horse fur.
But Mother, you
are a thistle. Look at you.
I counted all the ways that I’m sorry
but they don’t fall in sync with all the ways
you’ve shown me that Mother, I swear
to God you are the prettiest
and skinniest thing to rear its head
from this dirty old forest and
let me tell you something: there is a horse
inside me and all I want
is for that boy there to say, yes
that is the good stuff that is exactly
what I thought you would look like
This poem is from issue 39.2. You may purchase a copy here.