In Spacehorse you do not have to be stone. You’ve buried a horse one too many to be set in stone. Others bury to transform. The most hopeful don’t. They leave the reins you need to let go. I won’t erase our tracks. Soft ground like stone shuffles. Like why wolves knot. Like running won’t whittle away a wound. My feet : shot, dear & open. What lets eternity loose like lead. Axed &. Unsoothed. I can’t escape. Not all impressions fade. Sometimes you die from complications— or persist for years, & then silence in bottled-up thunder & bang. Sometimes all you can say is “wait.” Over &. Over. There are vacant stone houses you could break during sunrise. They reek of rotting balsam trees, & you’d give anything to rest, knowing someone condemned them long before you met— & the truth about you is that once you’ve loved greatly, that love is set in stone & so much more desirable to vandals who inscribe upon you that death was once natural before the need for burials. Here, no one will tell you. The first doctor you see only predicts so much scar tissue will make love difficult. The whole time he speaks quietly in the how & when best you leave. & boundaries change constantly, you tell a specialist, who asks you to reach into further recesses: the pogroms in Russia & then Poland, that your father’s family fled & the shame they still impress as if you descend not from survivors but fugitives. Like taking those first steps. All over again. You have no sense. How you did it. & now, trying to perfect what once came naturally. Before it was set in shuffle. Better to forget. & silence from scratch. If you can. I can’t. & that’s not it. Has nothing to do with it, anyway. Here I now descend from my assailant who returns at dim & woolly hours to clean up demolition. I chip away & flint, carving him from a distance. When our eyes lock, all I see in his is akin to my own ire & din : you aren’t & wait. Almost perfect symmetry is not symmetry at all. I don’t think I was chosen over those who die in such rubble. Here, they say assault has degrees when all of us remain defaced. Now I shamble through cemeteries. You won’t receive answers to these questions. My feet will give in. Etching. Stone. Thrown until swollen &. Dazed. Taken. & taking. Until Dust. &. Retch— You will not rot away. In Spacehorse, you will be renamed. Rest your head in soft starhorse thunder without thinking of what you’re doing. You’ll never have to wish how you could do it again.
Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author ofturn around, BRXGHT XYXS(Get Fresh Books, 2019). Her chapbook 20 Atomic Sonnets, which appears in Black Warrior Review (2020), is part of a larger future project called The Atomic Sonnets, which she began in 2019, in honor of the Periodic Table’s 150th Birthday. She is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Society of America (PSA), The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Electric Literature, Hayden’s Ferry Review,, among others. In 2017, her poem “Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in NYC and published by The Kenyon Review Online. Recently, her poem “Dancing with Kiko on the Moon” was featured in Tracy K. Smith’s The Slowdown. She’s part of the 2018 QUEENSBOUND project, and took part in The Onassis Foundation’s 2020 ENTER exhibition. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review blog.