Lip Twitch

by Gerald Arthur Moore

It hung like the threat of crucifixion, on a nail
in the barn; I didn’t know what it was for.

When the chain tightened over the mare’s lip,
she reared and split, flowing,
bared teeth, grain spit, and blood.
They turned the stick over and
over, twisting that chain tight – too tight.
Red hanky bubble froth, spilling cruel copious
rivulets when she lifted her head; thin dark rivers
twisting beautifully downward like fly tape ribbons,
her eyes were angry orbs
aiming hateful hoofs that shot
like pistons;
shaking off halter and hands,
if a horse can have resolve,
her’s said, shoot me in the head
I’m never getting in that stall again.

Arriving, in midday, from the crossed double
doors at the transept of the barn,
like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, my dad:
What do you idiots think you’re doing?

Dad called for a shearing razor.
With dirt worn hands, he rubbed
the smooth steel, friction-warm;
clicked the switch so it hummed,
held the handle under her jaw line:
soothing; she let out a comfortable
whinny, the rage evaporated – she flashed
her black mane and took the occasion
to drop a hatful of road apples.

That’s a girl. That’s a girl.
Gently tugged her harness, as if he
was inviting a lady to dance.


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