The Mare of Money

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.

More Poems by Roger Reeves