a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Mare has her run of the barn,” John says
After I ask why I heard the paint stallion
Shrieking clear across the yard after lunch.
A second later she prances in from her run,
Mane-stunting, herself a mountain engorged,
Quick four-beat hoofsteps and bowed-up, ash-gold
Tail-swish billowing urgent, estrous news.
He dashes in from his run, wide-eyed, nostril
Velvet grasping at her every notion,
Ears piqued and radiating bloodheat like
Corona leaping from his forehead blaze.
She pisses firehose dash-dot on his stall like
Code for endless love, and he comes undone
With sexpain’s need all rearing, pacing, kicking
Out at every human trinket in his way.
Without rival atop this ranch’s herd,
Still he must declare. Open his throat latch,
Spill out his kind’s entire phrasebook all
At once, show every nervous despot’s order full
Of needy begging for consent. John says soon
Their moods might mean we’ll let them have at it.
But now they’re courting, so they’ll trot back
Into their runs, another lap, more sun,
As often as their oldest customs demand.
Scott Woodham earned his poetry MFA from Murray State University in 2009, then worked in journalism in Alaska, and now teaches college composition in central Washington. In 2020 he won an emerging poet grant from the Allied Arts Foundation and his poems have most recently been published in Weber: The Contemporary West.