Redefining north.

Slipping by Carolyn Orosz



I wheel the body through the vet-hospital. She is all limbs. Baby-thing.

It’s the beginning of the poem now so something has to happen. Warm,

soft enough still for freezing. But she is, even now, animal—all wrong

for narrow hallways. Her hooves drag across the drywall. It is hard work.

Garbage bag puckered where a limb has stretched the plastic thin. I hold her

head in my hands to keep the skull from kicking corners. I never let it be easy.

Something has to be at stake in the poem. Question: what is the situation?

A toaster oven. The conveyer kind with a dial for controlling speed.

There is a piece of toast in there. A girl spinning in her pinkest dress. The floor

cement so her knees are scabbed. It is fragile, moving all around throughout

the day like that. That crusted over skin, her perfect throat. And so close

to the fingertips—that coil heated until it glows. What does this have to do

with the foal, who is hardening now in the walk-in freezer? It is, in fact, very difficult

to say. The ideal poem is a surreal game of garbage in the attic. Hornet's nest.

Mice like well-upholstered poppy seeds. Pool float made of unsinkable foam.

The girl’s assorted pet names—princess, butter-toast. Beneath the attic there is

a single stable with a colic horse. She grinds & grinds her teeth against the grain,

sucking air in & out. As if breathing. Something has to be at stake, she says.

                                                                   It’s like filling yourself, she says.

Carolyn Orosz is an MFA candidate in poetry at UW-Madison. She is managing editor of Devil's Lake. Her work can be found at Forklift, Ohio and Beecher's Magazine, among others.

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