Before the Show by Donna J. Gelagotis Lee


“Before the Show” by Donna J. Gelagotis Lee


Under the lone light bulb like a fluorescent moon,
         with the smell of wood, concrete under our feet.

Clip clock. The snap of the crossties to
         the halter. I comb the mane until it’s silky

& you separate the thin strands of hair and cross each one
         to form a braid, sewing it into the horse’s mane.

How long will it take? The first hour. The stillness
         of evening, then night. The horse’s nickers, stomp.

Your shrug of the shoulders to stretch. The horse’s ponderous
         neck. I shift my weight from foot to foot.

While you continue. Hour after hour. Ten braids. Fifteen. You
         don’t give up, give in. The farm is still.

The night lit only by the moon here. And we
         have only to dawn, when we’ll return

to load the horse onto the trailer and head to the show.
         How beautiful, the thoroughbred’s sleek neck.

How beautiful you are as a friend.



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Donna J. Gelagotis Lee Artist Statement:

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee’s book, On the Altar of Greece, is the winner of the Seventh Annual
Gival Press Poetry Award and a recipient of a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award: Notable for Art
Category. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary and scholarly journals, including The
Bitter Oleander, Feminist Studies, The Massachusetts Review, The Midwest Quarterly, and
Women’s Studies Quarterly. Her website is

Author: A Room of Her Own

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