by Shannon Castleton
Even death is music. You pretend not to hear because I walked alone, past your red- stained boots dropped at the gate, to the river where the colt was bloated in a cleft of mud and branches. I think I had dreamed her there. Last night I listened to the mare, the sky held by a whole note moon. Birth rang from her ears in staccato twitches. A thin wet leg slipped from inside her like a key to her warm treasure. I locked the gate beside the river. I buried in the field the triplet lambs you left rotting in the pasture. Morning, I left your red hands, still hot with the day’s long slaughter, to find the new foal cold in the river, her eyes watered open in blue octaves of light— too early still, for magpies. But I could hear her dying in the clean current that skimmed over her lips and nostrils— low tones of rocks and branches. Even the rests were death to me.