Przewalski’s Pelts

Siobhan Hodge

 

These stone broad heads, mealy

fawn and striped, slip in

Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

 

Marginal equine, long

thought gone, clawed back

even now poachers outpace

 

recovery, gut and tan

hides remember aspic

comb and gunshot blush

 

firmer than bitted teeth.

Fringes stained, they skulk –

no sweeter than injustice

 

being named for the first

to claim your murder,

casting mane and tail

 

as though swearing away

sigils. In relief.

Evading taxonomy

 

each cream coat,

claims steppe and desert

beyond all.

 

The last stallion seen

in the Gobi sands,

alone for thirty years,

 

or patiently buried there,

waiting for new

herds to be spent.

 

Siobhan Hodge has a PhD in English literature. She won the 2015 Patricia Hackett Poetry award and has had poetry, reviews and articles published in numerous places, including Westerly and Cordite. She is Reviews editor for Writ Review and an Associate Editor for Rochford Street Review, and has a chapbook Justice for Romeo coming out with Cordite Books in 2018.

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