It follows the slug of bell tongue,
rattle against the apple
of an ox throat. Hoof after
hoof, breath chuffed,
is this how we are all yoked?
Death steps a tight circle
maintains the image of moving
forward, always pulling in
closer to the center
of this ancient structure,
lugging the rotation
of our hearts. It pulls in worship,
interminable ring of filling
its own fresh hoof prints, lifetime
spent dancing atop hay rot—
palpably wet, overwhelming.

From Reaper’s Milonga (YesYes Books, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Lucian Mattison. Used with the permission of the author.