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The Myth is Real

From Horse Medicine


I would believe in the unicorn if it stood heaving and slathered,

snapping flies off its flanks with its tail. It does not smell

of sweat and stable, does not snort at the wolf in the brush

and twitch its ears. I unicorn does not get dirty,

kick up mud when it runs. I know that I would throw

my leg over a bareback horse than I’d step

into the stirrup of a saddled unicorn. For spite, I’d shoot

and slaughter one, roast choice bits over a fire, and hang

its horn from my belt, just to outrage the legions

of tourists of the imagination, the kind who flock

to seances, or invite Rasputin to tea. A unicorn

is impossibly cute, it doesn’t shit or rub its rump against a tree.

But a horse, my God, can swing its neck around at a dog’s yip

and break your jaw, can brain you with a hoof.

It makes the ground shake. Look at him, the black pool

of his eye, muscle rippling along the flanks, and how

he stands, placid, chewing, as the little girl lies on top of him

braiding his mane, whispering, my magic, my magic, my boy.

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