‘Foaling’ by Rachel Bower

Nobody told me I would become a beast
during labour
four fingers open, a horse measured in hands.

I whinnied and brayed but no-one understood –
they tacked me up
anyway and let me shit on the floor.

When my legs buckled they walked round me,
tidied the stalls,
talked among themselves, indifferent to my cries.

They packed me into a truck
but I bolted,
thighs blazing as I charged through the stars.

I paused at last in a patch of black grass
sweet taste of blood
and, alone in the dark, birthed my foal.

(Forthcoming in Moon Milk, Valley Press, July 2018)

Rachel Bower is a poet and Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Rachel’s pamphlet, Moon Milk, will be published by Valley Press in July 2018 and is now available to pre-order. She is the author of Epistolarity and World Literature, 1980-2010 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and she recently co-edited Verse Matters, an anthology with Helen Mort (Valley Press, 2017). Rachel’s poems have been published widely, including by Stand Magazine, The Interpreter’s House, Strix, and Frontier, and broadcast on BBC radio, and her poems have won several prizes, most recently in the 2018 York Literature Festival Poetry Prize and the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize 2017. Twitter @rachelebower