For Vida, my Arabian mare
This morning I go down to the corral to see them,
Mother and daughter in repose; it is so quiet
When last night there was anguish and blood,
Mare with huge foal, maniacal vet
We were tired, we didn’t know what to make
Of the repro vet from Cornell
With his chains, shouting at her and knocking her
Down, his need to wrest the baby
from the womb
With his bare hands,
Vida, vida, mi vida. Que lastima y que sufrimiento,
In the night, it ends.
But in the house
in my room, curled around the dog
I scream her name.
I scream into pillows, and bite my own fingers.
An angel rocks me to sleep, my companion,
At daybreak I go down to the corral
and untarp them, mother and daughter.
They are placed together,
Foal between her mother’s forelegs,
liver chestnut filly, full term,
I fold back the tarp
where the blood is pooling. I consecrate it
And mark my forehead with el sangre de Vida..
I sing “Gone down the river to pray,”
Beg her forgiveness. I snip from the foal’s mane,
Bits from her tail….
Beautiful in death like a fallen ballerina,
Strong and maternal and glorious, hearkening
to desert storms and the earliest
Arabians, my soul, mi Vida.
Tonight, there will be a new constellation,
A mare and her get; the pattern will undulate
In the wind and be swept by the tallest trees.
The eyes of the universe
Will weep; ghosts of great stallions
Will gallop across the heavens.
I thank Tothe, Thanatos, Dearth, Death,
The God I know most, that God
That takes away breath, the God
Of stillness, God of gods who sees to it
That the cruel sweat blood in their sleep.
Copyright J.R. Andrews
April 22, 2007