Mag Gabbert

2020 Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize finalist

Mare

 

a fully mature female horse

or other equine animal

 

the year I measured my body

with my dog’s locking leash

before cutting out pieces

from a black velvet spool

 

any of several

dark plains on the moon

which Galileo believed could be seas

 

from the Proto-Indo-European root mer

also seen in ambrosia manticore immortal

morbid morsel and remorse

 

the day a horse

broke its leg in front of me

then lay flat as a shadow

while my boyfriend raised

and aimed his father’s rifle

 

in Sanskrit mer forms crushes or bruises

in Persian man in Hittite to disappear

or vanish

 

the time my class took a field trip

to a Greek Orthodox Church

and I cried hysterically

beside the altar

 

Latin term meaning body

of water

 

when the priest told me men

were always made in God’s image

but girls only developed

into negatives

 

an illusory discovery or trick

 

one time I believed the word equine

meant aquatic

 

in Armenian mer forms dying

in Old English it’s murder

 

a bad woman or rabbit

 

at recess a boy once said I ran

as if my life didn’t depend on it

 

the well-known process

of training young horses

otherwise known as breaking

 

a she-goblin or incubus

 

in Greek to extinguish

 

the horse-headed Demeter

who was the goddess of harvest

but then

became the goddess of grief

Mag Gabbert.jpg

 

Mag Gabbert holds a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and an MFA from The University of California at Riverside. Her essays and poems can be found in 32 Poems, Pleiades, The Rumpus, Thrush, The Massachusetts Review, Waxwing, The Pinch and many other journals. She is the author of Minml Poems, a chapbook of visual poetry and nonfiction (Cooper Dillon Books, 2020), and she’s received poetry fellowships from Idyllwild Arts and Poetry at Round Top. She teaches creative writing at Southern Methodist University and serves as the interviews editor for Underblong Journal.