As the horse runs her layers fall to her sides: muscles needle-shine on the asphalt. I jump on when she’s only a jigsaw of bones—her star-stitched mane hits my face, sucking breath out of my mouth.
In dream two I make her whole again. I peel varnish from her ribs, watch as tendons connect to her dusty skeleton, her hide stretching dappled over her frame. She stands, kicks the tar until she's sticky with herself. One green breath out of her nostrils and she's gone—tar pool on the ground, white scar against trampled bluebonnets left of a sky.
I close my eyes and my friend says he wants a man
who pins a rose to his lapel,
takes him out for oysters that still twitch in their shells,
kisses him with lemon brine mouth.
He was stroking my face then,
upper lip slick with High-life.
I’m a rider when I need to be.
I’m a bone rider when I need to be:
toward an overgrown burial site,
rose hips crushed between my teeth,
shimmering as I shake off salt.
The bar lights eat us Follow me
Shaving welts on his neck Good cologne All the men at the bar turn to stare at me
All the men turn to stare at me because
I'm so shiny now
Sex swing in the corner of the room
B straps me in
licks my stomach as its false moon flares in his eye
What's real anymore?
I ask but he's already turned me around
I wake up before I want to, go out for egg & cheese on rolls. It’s complicated getting in B’s door. I can’t shake the feeling he’s not there, that he’s been raptured, sitting at a bar where wine pours from marble fountains, rose-gold tips on everyone’s pointy shoes—they’re tapping to some music too fine for me to hear. B’s not singing, of course not, but he has a whip across his lap and his lipstick is smashed berry, silver, like a mood ring reflecting someone who thinks in the cool tones of post-survival. But when I walk in he’s asleep, greasy like me, the summer cooking him even with the air-conditioning on. He’s post-survival, I think, it’s what gets me back out the door, hood pulled over my face, arms covered as if I’ll flake like a burnt skillet.
About Wren Hanks
Wren Hanks is the author of Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press) and Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press). A 2016 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow, their recent work appears or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2016, Gigantic Sequins, Bone Bouquet, Drunken Boat, and elsewhere. Their third chapbook, gar child, is forthcoming from Tree Light Books in 2017. An Associate Editor for Sundress Publications, they live in Brooklyn and tweet @corsetofscales.