Issue No. 8, Spring 2014

for Jaime Warburton

Three Drops of Blood
Katharyn Howd Machan

My horse, my beautiful
dead horse:
her head hanging white
from a hook on the stable door.
What will she swear
to the echoing moon tonight?

I lie abed, elsewhere,
not alone:
goose feathers torn
from the king of the sacred flock
beneath my head, my hips,
the strange child I have born.

One dark cathedral bell
dares toll:
a story half-begun.
From my dreamless reach for air
what name may I call?
Forgotten: every one.


Katharyn Howd Machan, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, holds degrees from the College of Saint Rose, the University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines (Nimrod, Yankee, The MacGuffin, Snake Nation Review, Hanging Loose, Dogwood, Runes, Slipstream, Beloit Poetry Journal, South Coast Poetry Journal, Hollins Critic, The Salmon, West Branch, Seneca Review, Louisiana Literature, etc.) and anthologies/ textbooks (The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, Poetry: An Introduction, Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now, Sound and Sense, Writing Poems, Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience, etc.), and in 31 collections, most recently H (Gribble Press, 2014), Belly Words: Poems of Dance (Split Oak Press, 2009), When She’s Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009), and The Professor Poems (The Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2008). In 2002 she was named the first poet laureate of Tompkins County, New York. Her poem “Tess Clarion: Redwing, 1888” received the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California (judge Dana Gioia) and Kent State University awarded her poem “Gingerbread” the Luna Negra Prize. In 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology for Split Oak Press.