Gingerbread House Lit Mag

Let Pass The Black Then The Brown, Run Up To The Milk White Steed And Pull Its Rider Down


Black as the sun’s shadow,
the mare’s legs, feathery
fetlocks plunge into the grass
stained with moony tears.

I’ve seen her in my dreams,
as a horse-headed queen
surveying her lands from a high-
backed throne, bitter

salt piled by her side.
Briny crystals, pinched,
crushed, crumbled, whet
the hunger of lips and tongue.

The black mare’s been shed
like a stone from Above,
a meteorite bathed in cloudy light.
Bones bare the impact.

Her onyx hooves reflect
the secrets of nature,
their thorny proverbs,
their flowery potions.


Rising its springy legs,
a brown yearling canters,
air-bourne mid-stride,
pumping energies up from Below.

Thick forelocks ripple
over the blazed forehead,
broad head with its wide-set
eyes, blue flames,

and delicate muzzle. The brown
blows through big teeth
and darts like inspiration or water
over a mirror. Colt of filly?

Can’t tell from here.
A horse head’s a rebis
alchemists say you can fashion
into anything you want:

Christ, drops of blood
fall from his gashed side,

mana fertilizing belief,
outside the city gates
on a scull-pan hill,

or a she-dragon. Fiery
cinnabar oozes from her beak.
Lashing vermillion tongue
spews a poisonous slaver
that is stirring the grasses to life.

To turn lead to gold,
the yearling leaps the sun;
it soars over the conflagration,
dispelling the grey clouds.

Message-bringer, misunderstood
prophet, the brown returns,
nickers to the listening grasses:
The One is Two, the Two One.


His sweating sides flash
like lightning from the high-piled
clouds. His molten mane

melts over his lofty neck
marked with whorls of hair
the Roma say bring luck.

Contained by his creamy pelt,
he is vast inside and out,
as he floats over green earth.

His unreadable eyes,
disintegrate into the rippling dots
of an expanding universe,

he is a white heat, a being
of pure will, ferocious,
impossible to take alive.

Do I see a shape
coalesce in the heated vapors,
astride his smoky back,

a rider condensing as if
in an alembic, unkempt,
sun-struck, dazed? 

Tail fanning fire behind him,
the stallion trails a brimstone scent.
All the shadows of the earth

rise up, caught in his sulphury
wake, awakener of death.

Charlotte Hussey

Charlotte Hussey has a Warren Wilson College MFA and a McGill University PhD. She teaches medieval literature at Montreal’s Dawson College. She has published Rue Sainte Famille and The Head Will Continue to Sing. Her Glossing the Spoils, a collection drawing on Western European mythologies, came out in a second edition in 2017.  Her poems can be found in Garden Varieties: An Anthology of the Top Fifty Poems from the National Poetry Contest; 150+ Canada’s History in Poetry; Soul of the Earth: the Awen Anthology of Eco-spiritual Poetry; Pagan Muse: Poems of Wisdom and Inspiration, and in The Deep Music: Offerings for the Awen. Her work appears in literary magazine in Canada, the UK, and US. She can be reached at

Artwork: Alexandra Khitrova, Born to be free

This entry was published on May 31, 2020 at 12:04 am and is filed under 42 (May 2020), Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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