Brittany Fonte holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) and has published five books, including a Lambda Literary Poetry Anthology. She teaches in the MFA program at Concordia University-St. Paul. Currently, she is working with her writing partner on their second screenplay.
If you beat a dead horse
The horse has been stiff for days
leathered by sun
starved by hands
too stubborn to meet in thanks
swallow past Christmas goose.
The horse’s eyes are opaque
filmy with flies
festering with lies
pried like teeth with a lost wrench.
But there is a rod and spoiling.
There is something about a father–
a father who went to war
loved a woman not his race with a child
once drank at a leather bar
to show this child he understood
all those letters and could write them too
and then voted neither green nor blue.
The horse has been gone for years
weathering the spitting distance
between forgiveness and trauma
in a glue factory known for
its confederate flag
and proximity to the VA hospital