Lana Rakhman

High Ridin’ Woman

A woman knows a whip — the way
                    it cracks before sound escapes significance —

wolves hide in desire, de-structured —
                    puttying themselves into unnamed fields —

how is it that a rider & the ridden can jump the same horse?
                    Hair full of fire, eyes full of smoke, either way what we have

is forgiven. Sing a little prayer for all these wandering fools —
                    what do they know of obedience? The definition of ‘broken’

: two sides of the same loin lost within each other. A man can-
                    not command the wind, nor the witch, nor the hands that

knead him. After all, what is a hierarchy without a few starving mares?
                    Look further & everything doubles in on itself; toil your troubles;

folded arms & scolded legs; this woman wondering when the animal
                    beneath her will finally collapse. Remove the ‘w’ and now it’s

a hip. A woman can bend ache into her own body; uncurl it,
                    unplait it, (sing it!) bring the tamed hide back to the wilderness.


Lana Rakhman has current poems published or forthcoming in Whiskey Island, Weave, New Madrid, Harpur Palate, Salamander, 5th Wednesday and others. She received her MFA from Northwestern University, where she was the former poetry editor of TriQuarterly. She lives in Chicago with her husband and unruly cat, Pretzel.