Two Poems by Melody Wilson

White Mare

          Only if there are angels in your head will you
                    ever, possibly, see one.
                                        —Mary Oliver
                                        The World I Live In

All my horses are dead now.
The Shetland pony, the sorrel,

          the bay. Gone like grandparents
          trailing genes. When I say

that once I rode
very well, I mean

          summer thighs clung
          to the mare’s barrel,

our sweat mingled like
blood brothers. I mean

          I first studied my reflection
          in the eye of a horse—

the flea-bitten gray who leaped
tumbleweeds, no saddle, no shoes,

          my hands twisted into mane,
          her hoofs striking sand:

one-two, one-two. My heart
falls into rhythm even now.



Three dots of concealer still
mute my age spots. Dot, dot,
dot, and my skin appears
as I imagine it once did.

The Japanese call this
Bijinga, the art of painting
women to reveal their
inner beauty. No matter

whether the image matches
the model, what counts
is an inquisitive brow, pursed
lips, hair restrained by silk

flowers and a small jade
sword. My mother
pulled her hair back,
threaded it through a bun

she brought from a box,
wound the tail around.
She tilted toward the mirror,
applied lipstick, tore a sheet

of toilet paper from the roll,
closed her lips on the fold,
popped them open.
She appraised her face

in the mirror, tossed the tissue
aside. I knew she was
leaving when the dresser
was littered with kisses.


Melody Wilson’s work appears in Sugar House Review, VerseDaily and The Fiddlehead. Upcoming work will be in Kestrel, Crab Creek Review, and Archetype Magazine. She received 2022 Pushcart nominations from Redactions and Red Rock Review, and was semi-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Award. Her chapbook Spineless: Memoir in Invertebrates comes out in August 2023. She’s pursuing her MFA at Pacific University. Find her work at