Dead Horse

Catherine said her horse died and sad it was
not because he was old
and she paid $500 for him
thinking the kids might ride him
and quit watching television—
no, it was sad because she didn’t have
$500 to haul him off or rent
a backhoe and bury him, so she
just let it go for a day. Dead horse
in the pasture. But the coyotes
came around, yipped and yapped, began
to gnash at dead horse flesh
throughout the night. She ran out
in her robe waving her warped
tennis racket. Of course the kids
cried about the horse they
barely rode, and now he was the best horse
in the world and how could she be
such a mean mother not to love
that horse and give it a proper burial.
She bought a five gallon can of gas
(unleaded of course), sprinkled it
on the corpse of the horse after dinner
and they had a bonfire (cremation of sorts).
One daughter wanted to roast marshmallows
in the flames of the dead horse but
thought the stench was a bit coarse.
The fire burned down and the girls slept
until dawn when the coyotes came back,
gnawed off hunks of well-done flesh.
It took three nights and fifteen gallons of gas
to finish off that horse. Then it was Sunday,
the day her ex picked up the kids
for a week. He commented about the smell
of barbecue. Did she have any leftovers.
When he walked down by the pond,
she snapped off a horse bone,
wrapped it in foil, placed it in his car.

Under the Influence

As the rain song of April
skittered against the window,

the girl, quiet, tapped her dream
variations in a blues. The furnace

hummed like daybreak in Alabama.
Her cousin was coming up the lane.

No more margins of mother
on meth. Today was the girl’s bouquet,

her sea calm. Good day to wear red.
Her cousin Janey was coming

and a chance to be a jukebox
love song, a Janey chance to be a

genius child, pop a wheelie
in her wheelchair, dance the rubber,

dance the wheels, feel Janey’s voice
moving through the indigo air.