The Horse Who Gave Birth to the First Car

Good hips, they told her after the excruciating birth.
Good womb.
Good girl.
This colt did not nurse from her; it was provided other food.
Small mercies.
She watched him race, faster, faster, in a meadow that was not her meadow,
in the adjacent world that his arrival had created.
Beep, vroom.
She hurt inside; after a time, she turned back to her grass.
Her colt’s name, they said, was “Progress.”
For weeks, she grazed.
Hurt inside: all ripped open—hard angles, where hair hadn’t been; two lights,
where the eyes weren’t.
She remembered …
Sputnik!, they said anguishedly, in advance of the next foaling season.
The Russians cannot win, they said, casting racing, rabid glances between
her and the sky.
Good hips.
Good womb.
Good girl.

—Rachel Rodman