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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

foregoing C-section


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,

mi Vida.


Without fanfare,

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,

Witnessing, enduring.


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

with tears,

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