“Year of the Horse” – Poetry by Emily O’Neill

Head of a Horse - Alexander Orlowski, 1821
Head of a Horse – Alexander Orlowski, 1821

2014 is the “Year of the Horse,”  and Emily O’Neill‘s poem of the same name (included in our Fall 2014 issue) has some strongly-worded things to say about eating these kind-faced creatures.

{ X }

I’M NOT INTERESTED IN HOW TO BREAK
a horse because what’s uglier
is whether you would eat one.

Not alone in the dessert
staring down saguaros, dying
at the hands of your own stupidity.

Would you eat one for dinner
just to say you’ve done it?  Could you
look into its kind, unknowing face,

scoop out the crude oil eyes, & carve
flank into a rain of steaks to last
until your next success?  When

what carries you has been devoured
what will hold you until you’re away?
If tendon tangles in your teeth

I hope it tastes like trampled grass.
I hope you see daybreak as a monster.
I hope your hands stay chapped and red

for as long as it takes guilt to grow
into a shaded place hung with honey
hives where the bees sting without asking

what meat you are made of, or if
you might rot in the heat of the day.

{ X }

IMG_1535EMILY O’NEILL is a writer, artist, and proud Jersey girl. Her recent poems and stories can be found inElectric Cereal, Gigantic Sequins, and Split Rock Review, among others. Her debut collection,Pelican, is the inaugural winner of Yes Yes Books’ Pamet River Prize and forthcoming in 2014. You can pick her brain at http://emily-oneill.com.

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