The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 17 no. 2


Pascale Petit

The Horse-Dress


She has made herself a horse-dress.
Night and day she worked
on her crochet loops and chain stitches,
until the mare's eyes covered her nipples,
nostrils flared over her ovaries.
Horse legs dangle from her huge horse-face,
a tail swishes from her tailbone.
With its protection she passes through firedoors.
No one can hurt her when she wears her horse,
the past gallops away.
She asks for a table and sits at it,
the words canter over the paper.
While Nurse braids her mane,
her pen writes to her holy daughter
and her holy son.
She has crocheted their foal portraits
on the cheeks of her mare-face.
When her nipple-eyes see them
Nurse straps her down.
They tie a halter around her neck.
Here comes the jacket with endless arms,
the burning wet sheets
twisted into ropes
and the nosebag of horsepills
clamped over her muzzle.
Here comes the jockey
who rides her like a racer
until she is raw.
They pass four hundred volts through her brain,
her teeth rattle in their pens
and bite the apple of her tongue
and still she won't wear the hospital gown. 
Her dress is a horsebox
hurtling down the motorway
at a hundred miles an hour.