Foal by Lois P. Jones
published in The Lascaux Review
In your next life you will be birthed in needles of hoarfrost, your eyes still in the blue gauze between
this world and the next and I will kneel so close you will smell the hot iron waiting to singe
your skin. You’ll hear the crackle of the flame and your throat will prickle with stars. I’ll wrap your shins
in nettle and this shelter will fall deeply into zero. This is the start of your suffering for the children, yours who became
the wanderers, beaten between the withers, broken and unridable in the world’s dark loam. There is no animal to save you now
no purling stream to fold shame into, not even the jackdaw as witness, or a single crofter awake in this cat’s eye hour.
Revenge tries on its black bridle then drapes it over the swinging fence. Father, I will not take out
your eyes but I will brand you with the word you fear and you will wear it and you will wear it
and give up everything to winter.