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beat a horse & still the dead {you never knew} know what's in your heart

better than you

here's blood in your eye

{make these bones your kindling} & retch

salt from stone {there's blood in our eyes

yet} & everything

from the dead sea we are aware & awake of your dreams

unawake & unaware that the dead dream

& there is no dead space & no dead sea no every-

thing knows something

as beating & received

there's just different planes of second-guessing :: you are still dead

last in knowing a heart {has different planes of beating} & we

the plastic horses & skeleton keys

left behind at the dollar tree

we are without hunger

for your returning

a bird passing overhead is for the living

around her wings we are the hissing

static like rickety rocking

horses were we

in your attics

& fishbowl seas

a garbage heap is a galaxy of feeling

even the wood-rot keys their splinters

cry out for your hands everywhere

is somewhere to go & a blind alley we call

home that last horse before dawn

who will carry us when there’s no one


ROSEBUD BEN-ONI is a recipient of the 2014 NYFA Fellowship in Poetry and a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow; her most recent collection of poems, turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, was selected as Agape Editions' EDITORS' CHOICE, and will be published in 2019. She writes weekly for The Kenyon Review blog and is an Editorial Advisor for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Her work appears or is forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Black Warrior Review, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Arts & Letters, among others; recently, her poem "Poet Wrestling with Angels in the Dark" was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online. She teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension's Writers' Program. Find her at


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