I was born from thunder-water
and hen-pecked corn,
found in a river, my horns already formed.
A form wind-blown, hair – mad as the crags,
all flint-cut stone and goat-toed.
Would you warm my final resting place ahead of me?
I yearn for space to rest my head,
to carve into the earth a solitary, coiling bed.

I shave my horns against a tree
knowing they tell more of me than what I am;
my eyes, an open palm, or the honey from my tongue.
Horns call false promises
of who I might be, or become.
First things seen are most often last forgotten.
Oh, I wash off the marks you made
on this mountain thing, I am,
but bruises grow, and make legends true.

Caroline Hardaker

Caroline Hardaker lives in the north east of England. Her poetry has been published worldwide, most recently or forthcoming in Magma, The Interpreter’s House, and Shoreline of Infinity. Her first poetry collection, ‘Bone Ovation’, was published by Valley Press in October 2017. You can follow her at

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