The plod of the trespassers
              on wet turf,
in the sinking dark,
              marked their path,
plan, toward the barn
              where it slept—

the stallion, resting
              from its thoroughbred
charge, hungry for oats,
-nested, silent
              save the hot breath
of its nostrils.

With night as protector,
              the men did steal
into the animal’s stall—
              craving its smell
and cozy parameter,
              the better to bind

their shame and lustful
              intention toward beast,
              —its shape,
mythic tether to man,
              the centaur’s nobility
and speed, stride.

Perhaps, it was unbridled
              envy of nature
unbridled or the desire
              to be subdued raw
and primitively too,
              that led one—having

been broken
              early and practiced—
to seek consolation
              in this mating, of sorts:
the dumb and biological
              thrusts of the teased

phallus, the spewing
              and satisfaction,
all animal, really;
              the win-win grace
of it—the horse
              both horse and rider.

From Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010) by Dante Micheaux. Copyright © 2010 by Dante Micheaux. Used with the permission of the author.