Riding the Night Mare
It's a crime to whip her this hard,
but you're up ahead hollering and I can't keep pace.
She'll bear me if it kills her. Those heaving sides
tell me that. We fly along ancient forest tracks,
our way breached by cones and fallen timber -
dark secrets laid up in rings.
When we stop, she guzzles gladly, refuses nothing
from my hand except the dry half lemon,
not yet knowing how sour can be put to long use.
Her eyes are fiery water-marks. Stubborn teeth.
I take her tongue, with a mind of its own.
Vice it. Force the rind down.
When I wake, I'm tilting at your chest, remembering
how white it was, like a freshly prised abalone,
while we were young enough to count
ourselves in summers, and you my turkey cock
with feathers and attitude.
But here's neither time nor place.
Your complex mechanism is wound too tight.
We'll wait. Again. Until the mood is right.
I fumble for something to cover my flanks.
Nothing said about her of course.
This poem was first published in the pamphlet Later There Will Be Postcards, by Green Bottle Press.
Claire Booker is a poet and playwright who lives in Brighton (UK). Her debut pamphlet Later There Will Be Postcards is out with Green Bottle Press. A second pamphlet is forthcoming with Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her poetry has been set to music, filmed, appeared on the side of Guernsey buses and in numerous literary mags. She blogs at www.bookerplays.co.uk
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