Half-Horse (during Jordan & Billy’s performance)

photo: © 2009 Jason Riker, Riker Productions

photo: © 2009 Jason Riker, Riker Productions

The horse dies, lifts its leg, its breastbone gripped by body suspended in space.  One perceives the horse is dead, limp.  One perceives the horse reborn when it works up to a rise. One does not perceive another horse dead in the space. One horse wears partial clothing.

The horse is resuscitated through a series of gestures, fingertips at odds. Filaments of shoulder muscle slap the dead horse breathing.  Nothing is gripped so tight as the breath; so long the horse is on the ground the horse is dying.  One perceives the horse because it dies more slowly than the world.

Or, one perceives the horse gravity.  If one is alive, one is four feet on the ground, heels lifted.  If one is half-alive, one is limp, suspended in space.  If one is dying, one writhes, writhing often referred to as spiraling out.  Dead, the horse creeps up behind the living, falls.

But one does not fall upon dying. Half-alive, the horse lifts its eyes extend its fingers finger out extend to hold out a bouquet of roses. Half-alive the horse’s fingers branch outward like claws.

Or, the horse is half-alive, back folded, hands behind the head in prayer.  One perceives the horse’s hands are folded prayer because the horse is already dying, this half-alive horse, and its dying causes a string of pearls across its mane.  A pearl is signifier, half-dead horse, signal of something.  Half-dead horse alive to say the horse is living.  One perceives the half-horse half-alive, choking itself as to say.

Or, one perceives the horse as limp.  Hunched over, a string of pearls tangle the mane the horse gallops. In place rubbing breath on its body, hoof in one clean wide line. The other hoof is resisting weeping.  O string of pearls, O half-horse, limp dead with air then come alive.  O half-dead horse dance with nothing, kneel on the floor with two knees.  O do your hooves take on the form of hands?

About clairedonato

Claire Donato lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston Review, Black Warrior Review, Fou, and Harp & Altar. She is the author of a chapbook, Someone Else's Body (Cannibal Books 2009). Claire graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008 and is currently completing an MFA in Literary Arts at Brown University.
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