Poem of the Week | March 17, 2009

This week we’re proud to feature “The Soldier Inside the Horse” by David Hernandez, which originally appeared inTMR 28:1.  David Hernandez’s poetry collections include Always Danger(Southern Illinois University Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry, and A House Waiting for Music(Tupelo Press, 2003). His YA novels include No More Us for You andSuckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. His poems have appeared in FIELD, The Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, andPoetry Daily. His drawings have also appeared in literary magazines, including a feature in Indiana Review. David lives in Long Beach, California and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.

The Soldier Inside the Horse

A horse disemboweled on a battlefield
for the soldier to crawl inside.

A battlefield once green, once shagged
with bluegrass, now gouged and smoldering.

The soldier once a boy and now
a man inside a horse hollowed out.

The horse then the soldier’s costume,
the mouth an opening for his rifle

and not a mouth chewing the bluegrass.
Once the eye sockets cradled eyes

and now peepholes for the soldier
to survey the battlefield, smoldering

and gouged. Once green, once a boy
with strawberry jelly on his lips.

Once a ghost for Halloween with eyeholes
scissored into a bedsheet. An enemy

crosses the battlefield so gunfire
from the mouth of the horse,

so death. The man inside a solider,
the soldier once a boy who wanted

a pony. The horse once a horse,
galloping where the world was green.