Karen Dennison

Poet and artist

Talus – a poem of mine



It has no voice, refuses to neigh
or nicker. Horse-blood doesn’t flow
into my own, its weight lost to my hand,
cold nuzzling my palm. Grey-white
does not transmute to dapple-brown.
The unnamed horse remains unnamed.

If I were a bone biographer could I read
its pumice-like surface, determine year of death,
whether stallion or mare? Would I understand
from indents, misshapen places, forces
pressed upon it; thickened and roughened
where muscles connected?

How much history is lost to marrow, how much
scrawled inside coral-shaped tunnels?
Could they tell me how it grazed on wild thyme
on Mongolian steppes, licked salt from dried-out lakes;
if it died of starvation or old age or at the teeth
of wolves that crept down the mountains at night?

Are its skeleton keys still there on the ground
where I found them, displayed like a museum exhibit
missing this stolen piece of puzzle, this anklebone?

Karen Dennison (published in Obsessed with Pipework No.70)

2 thoughts on “Talus – a poem of mine

  1. So pleased to see this poem here. And also very pleased that it was published in Obsessed with Pipework No.70. Perfect title- Talus. Your poem is a type of metamorphosis or giving new life to this mystery horse. I like how you end with the question you do … which also suggests what might be found if someone looked… maybe… so present, past & future gets is wound all together – imagination and possibilities and the fact of the ankle bone that the speaker holds. Great poem. And glad to see the photo.

  2. Glad to read this poem – enjoyed it enormously. Such an important bone that keeps everything connected and creates such a sense of movement – of time and place. Thanks for posting.

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