The Mare of Money

By Roger Reeves Roger Reeves
Another dead mare waits   
in the shoals of some body   
of water, waits to be burden,   
borne into a foaming ocean,   
where it might become food   
for whales, or, simply empty   
signifier—hair latched to the sea’s undulation   
like Absalom’s beauty   
caught in the playful branches   
of a tree desiring union,   
entanglement, thick confusion—   
but not this mare;   
she does not get the luxury   
of a lyric—a song that makes our own undoing   
or killing sweet even as we go down   
into the fire to rise as smoke.   
This horse must lie, eyes open,   
amongst the stones and fresh water   
crawfish in Money, Mississippi,   
listen to the men’s boots break the water   
as they drop a black boy’s body near her head,   
pick him up, only to let him fall again   
there: bent and eye-to-eye with her   
as though decaying is something   
that requires a witness   
—as though the mare might say:   
on Tuesday after the rain fell,   
the boy’s neck finally snapped   
from the weight of the mill fan;   
he never looked at me again.
Or the boy might say:   
No more. They part   
here—the boy’s body found   
in another man’s arms, carried back   
to town, as the horse says nothing
because horses don’t speak, besides   
this one’s dead.

Source: Poetry (December 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2008
 Roger  Reeves


Roger Reeves's poems have appeared in journals such as PoetryPloughshares, American Poetry ReviewBoston Review, and Tin House, among others. Kim Addonizio selected “Kletic of Walt Whitman” for the Best New Poets 2009 anthology. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, . . .

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Poems by Roger Reeves

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Pets, Nature, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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