A Cave of Our House


Sometimes I see a black horse breathing heavily in the middle of the street. It always happens between three and four in the morning: an hour I never used to find myself awake, but since we moved to the new town I’ve been sleeping less and less because of the cold. The first time I told her about the horse she dismissed it as a trick of the light, a symptom of my sleep-deprived mind, so I don’t talk about it anymore. I don’t tell her how its hooves never make a sound against the asphalt, how the faint scent of fire is always present just after it trots silently away. Each night I spend waiting to see the horse, I also spend worrying. I worry winter will make a cave of our house, that the cold will spread from ceiling to floor, will fill the space between the furniture and our bodies. I worry I will never find the source of the smell of fire. Even worse, that there is no fire; no warmth to be found anywhere except the horse’s dark, steaming mouth.

Matthew Mahaney

Matthew Mahaney is the author of Your Attraction to Sharp Machines (BatCat Press, 2013). His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado ReviewSkydeer HelpkingILK, NANO Fiction, Untoward. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, and teaches at the University of Alabama.