Alabaster Horses


My sisters and I trained the alabaster horses
on our rum-struck father’s mantelpiece
to rear up and hold their fetlocks just so.
We brushed their stony manes with
cardinal feathers. Our hands were meadows
and the chiseled hooves would trot along
the pygmy trails of our fingers.

Mornings we would take our ponies out
and feed them ghosts of the apples
we picked from the orchard at the end
of our carpet farm. You would recall,
were you also seven, the rumors swelling
in their bloated bellies. You would recall
how the gypsum burst beneath our father’s boot.