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: When this Body Went Down :

an excerpt by Joanna Rawson


Here's where the horse has fallen.
Down among the brittle leaves and first ripe squash.

Nothing's gotten to it yet, though soon the crows.

The girls come to have a look.
The two of them want to lie down beside her hardening flank and do.

The little one runs her entire arms over the animal's side,
down over the washboard ribs where the last breath got out.

The older drowses in the inconsolable grass by her white pet.
She curves her own body to fit the curve of the mare's—

shoulder, spine, rump, and is just as equal as a rider, right now,
could be to grief,

which in a kid at this age is mostly grim, practical work.

People who do it for a living
will take the horse away tomorrow, in a truck.

We're getting things ready. Nothing will be a surprise,
even afterward, after the lift and disposal and the mist that sets in.

The proving ground where this body went down is already marked
by matted thatch, and scorch.



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