Think of the farrier standing in the yard how he used to thumb his silver tools in morning's gleam the donkeymy mother inherited when she remarried led to him on a rope familiar sound of animal huffdark eyes strained against August light this was years ago I did as I was told I took holdof her ears and twisted until she couldn't move the farrier gathered her hooves one at a timeand tucked them back between his legs to scrape away whatever earth calcified in spring and clung to her bodyjust as light clings to dust and though I was afraid of my own cruelty I wrung the muscles into dark flowerwaiting to be told enough the farrier rising to light a cigarette or dab his face the animal boltinginto another pasture as she never did at the end of day when we waited by her fence to feed her applespalms flat against her muzzle crooked teeth worked into skin strange symbol we used to sayof love god-heavy grown small knee-deep in summer which was coming to a close and furious as ever
Copyright © 2021 by Rob Shapiro.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Rob Shapiro received an MFA at the University of Virginia where he was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize. His poetry has appeared in AGNI, New England Review, The Southern Review, and Ecotone, and has received the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner, as well as third place in Narrative‘s 30 Below Contest. He lives in New York City.
By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, long and short poems, translations, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. At NER, serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.