National Poetry Month: ALL HOOVES AND TEETH by Jade Benoit

Apr 16, 2014Archive, Feature

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

under there.

This poem is from issue 39.2. You may purchase a copy here.