After a Photo of a Dead Horse by Vivian Maier

                          it could be tired. really, it could be
                          sleeping there between shifts
                          stomping through the streets.
                          it could be taking a noonday nap,
                          resting its glassine gaze.
i’m trying to be hopeful.
                          it could be playing dead. pretending
                          like circus horses.
                          i used a simile for several reasons
                          but mostly to draw attention
                          to the difference
                          between pretend dead horses
                          with white crowns
                          in a tent, and this
actually dead horse,
black against a quiet background
in a city street. sometimes you can’t believe what you see.
sometimes you don’t believe what you see.

                          there is a difference.

                          last night gregory peck did not die when he touched the ark of the covenant
                                                                                           two golden eagles embracing the space
                                                                                                                         graced between them.
              i’m not religious, but i understand religion
              because i understand metaphor, or
              i understand how
              we use metaphor to say
              what cannot be said.

how a dead horse is never
just a dead horse
is never just.


Jason Bradford is an MFA candidate in Poetry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Poems have appeared, or are forthcoming in jubilatFruita PulpJellyfish MagazineRogue Agent, and the North American ReviewThe Inhabitants, a chapbook of poems, was published by Final Thursday Press.