Queen Charlotte is a Horse 1

Thing is we’re growing

old together, that mare and I.

Our bodies are mutually lumped and scarred,

we sag where we used to billow.2 I outnumber her

in bits of grey and useless possessions3

but her hide is scalier, her digestive system

in better working order.4

We put up with things: long winters,

barb wire, herds that seem too small.

We know our own habits, eat like

clockwork, expect mud to follow ice

and raise our heads suspiciously at change.5

The simile ends. I don’t hear

any wondering coming from her soft

lips about what she’s done with her life.

The ground is cold and wet

soon a body will be able to dig a hole.

The tulips are poking up, 2 inches high now,

their stems are a dark green, brutal.

In bloom they’ll hoist their flimsy red buckets,

full of whatever turns a bee on.  

Every year they play their procreation game.6

Now given half a chance Queen Charlotte

would eat those tulips, top to bottom,

then paw the bulbs up for dessert.

Really she doesn’t give a rat’s ass

about the needs of bees

and never thinks of beauty.


1    and she greets me with a stuttering rumble, soft as the low putt-putt of a seagull engine, telling me she’s hungry.

2    Or play as Leonard Cohen would have it.

3    Electronic rat zapper, Swiffer Duster, pizza wheel, etc.

4    If horseshit is any indicator, both texture and volume.

5    The new horse trailer, HST.

6    That’s another thing my mare and I have in common, too old for babies but not for sex.

Originally from New York, Deirdre Dore lives in British Columbia where, when not writing, she works with trees. She has won awards from Canadian Authors Association, Short Grain, and recently the story Sappers Bridge won the Western Magazines award for fiction. We Sing You, Jimmy Sky, a chapbook of poetry, is available from dancing girl press in Chicago. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC and is currently at work on a collection of short fiction.