Joann Balingit

< Back | TOC | Next >


In the Stirrups
        --for Adrian on his birthday

        Dale Evans slipped into hers to ride
Her horse named Buttermilk. I wonder if God
Donned stirrups back in the days of darkness
On the face of the Earth, or did He ride
The planet bareback?
        Jeeesus! There’s praise
In the examination room next door. The horse
On the ceiling poster wears a white blaze
Of light, a slice like day between two nights
To part the darkness always.
        Always for your father I was to be
The reins, the ride, the waves and too much light
When what I wanted was to be the stony brook
That gallops to a dark clearing. You too
Are a dark clearing. No more memorials,
I told him that day, not long before your dad
And I divided. And here you are.
        After Buttermilk died, Dale
Had his buckskin hide stretched over
A plastic likeness. May a firmament
With stirrups brace our beings always toward
What great light the able body makes
Turning green herbs into meat, gathering
Waters unto one place.


JoAnn Balingit is a 2017 VONA/Voices resident in prose. She is the author of Words for House Story (2013) and two award-winning chapbooks. Her work appears in Best New Poets, DIAGRAM, Kweli Journal, RHINO, Salt Hill, The Rumpus, Smartish Pace, Verse Daily and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, The Delaware Division of the Arts, and the Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Residency Fellowship, JoAnn served as state poet laureate from 2008 to 2015 and currently coordinates Delaware’s Scholastic Writing Awards and Poetry Out Loud programs. She is an assistant editor for YesYes Books and lives in Newark, Delaware.