Horse Apocalypse

By Amit Majmudar b. 1979 Amit Majmudar
Hrhm Shp, colt-culling,
Is what hoof lore calls it—
The choke-chain sound a roan coined
To describe the things he saw
Before the sniff weevils crept
Up his nostrils and chewed
His eyes at the hue-sweet root.


Mother mares scare foals
From folly-trots and foxglove
By telling them fury tales
Of muck stirrup-deep and shells
Shoveling Passchendaele
Onto Passchendaele,
The foal fallen with the boy.


One memory, common
To all breeds, spurs night mares
Sparking down the mute streets
Of their sleep, gas-blind
Witnesses scraping Krupp
Guns over the cobblestones,
Winged sparks breeding in the hay.


Having watched us box and ditch
Our dead, they thought our dead
Ate termite-runnels
In the black bark of the land
And pulled all horsefolk down
To join whatever dark cavalry
Thundered underground.


The burlap gas mask cupped
And strapped to the wet snout
Could be mistaken, when
The gas gong sounded
And the men grew fly-heads,
For a feed sack chock-
Full of red ants.

Source: Poetry (April 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2012
 Amit  Majmudar


The son of immigrants, poet and novelist Amit Majmudar grew up in the Cleveland area. He earned a BS at the University of Akron and an MD at Northeast Ohio Medical University, completing his medical residency at the University Hospitals of Cleveland.
In his precise, often formally driven poems, Majmudar explores themes of identity, history, spiritual faith, and mortality. In an interview with the Kenyon Review, Majmudar . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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