Back to Issue Thirty-Eight

Age Out (Foster Care)



When I was a horse, I’d wake at dawn, stretch
my long neck in the desert’s cold and caw.
My side-set eyes blind to the center of things.
It’s reasonable to ask about my searching, about
the pinyon pine that sheltered me from midday
heat. How can I describe what I saw? If I say
exodus, you’ll ask where from. Forsaken, what
god, cast out, by whom. How much fallow earth
can a child endure, my son was standing on
dust clouds kicked up by wild mustangs when I
found him. Have you ever seen this country’s
prismatic hot springs, roiling, the Tetons, the bison.
Seen what sanctuary means. Held in your palm
bitterroot from the plains, crimson and waiting.



Having Just Met You, it’s Difficult to Explain My Mistakes; Similarly, to Explain Ghosts (Foster Care)



You scampered
into the field from
the frontage road
and I thought: wing-snapped
snowy owl. I thought:
young, lost fox. My love,
are you whole, have I
set my shoulder between
you and the world with
its teeth? I’m sorry
this is all I am, mostly
colic and sprain,
mostly frightened
by mothering, which also—
when I see you bolt
through the gate into
the green winter-wheat—
means haunting.

When I was a horse,
no grain-filled palm
could coax me in.
For what, I whinnied
at their open hands,
and who are you with your
pleated slacks and savings
. I did cry
uncle, sister, mother
(I did cry mother),
and they buckled
under the burden of my
short-sightedness. I was
such a horse’s horse, never
looking at my troubles
straight on. I’ve been
weathered-in to the ice-

wind, and haven’t collapsed
, I said, I’ll continue
. And I did
until you appeared.


Rebecca Morton attended the MFA program at Eastern Washington University. Her work appears in Sugar House ReviewRHINOAtlanta ReviewThe Cincinnati ReviewStorm Cellar, Pacifica Literary Review, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her wife and children.

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