Poetry | June 01, 2008

Featuring the poems:

 

Why Some Girls Love Horses

And then I thought, Can I have more

of this, would it be possible

for every day to be a greater awakening: more light,

more light, your face on the pillow

with the sleep creases rudely

fragmenting it, hair so stiff

from paint and Sheetrock it feels

like the dirty short hank

of mane I used to grab on Dandy’s neck

before he hauled me up and forward,

white flanks flecked green

with shit and the satin of his dander,

the livingness, the warmth

of all that blood just under the skin

and in the long, thick muscle of the neck-

he was smarter than most of the children

I went to school with. He knew

how to stand with just the crescent

of his hoof along a boot toe and press,

incrementally, his whole weight down. _ e pain

so surprising when it came,

its iron intention sheathed in stealth, the decisive

sudden twisting of his leg until the hoof

pinned one’s foot completely to the ground,

we’d have to beat and beat him with a brush

to push him off , that hot

insistence with its large horse eye trained

deliberately on us, to watch-

 

Like us, he knew how to announce through violence

how he didn’t hunger, didn’t want

despite our practiced ministrations: too young

not to try to empathize

with this cunning: this thing

that was and was not human we must respect

for itself and not our imagination of it: I loved him because

I could not love him anymore

in the ways I’d taught myself,

watching the slim bodies of teenagers

guide their geldings in figure eights around the ring

as if they were one body, one fluid motion

of electric understanding I would never feel

working its way through fingers to the bit: this thing

had a name, a need, a personality; it possessed

an indifference that gave me

logic and a measure: I too might stop wanting

the hand placed on back or shoulder

and never feel the longed-for response.

I loved the horse for the pain it could imagine

 

and inflict on me, the sudden jerking

of head away from halter, the tentative nose

inspecting first before it might decide

to relent and eat. I loved

what was not slave or instinct, that when you turn to me

it is a choice, it is always a choice to imagine pleasure

might be blended, one warmth

bleeding into another as the future

bleeds into the past, more light, more light,

your hand against my shoulder, the image

of the one who taught me disobedience

is the first right of being alive.

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