The girl loves a horse.
That’s the sort of movie this is, where the girl loves the horse; better than morning porridge, better than crisp fold of white linen on breakfast table, better than God. Now you know the one, now you can place it. Him. The hedge-jumping mane-streaming breath-steaming-in-the-pre-dawn glory of him. The girl wears pigtails and fidgets in her straight-backed chair. The girl has dimples. The girl, during idle moments, paints in her mind the image of herself on the horse. She is not you, but she becomes you for an hour and twenty-two minutes. The father tells the girl this is not your horse. The father tells the girl, this is animal, this is brute-who-works. Worker-who-must-be-broken. The father tells the girl, become what the bones desire. Become what your doe eyes and pin curls, what your penny loafers portend.
The horse is not a horse, but a man. That’s the sort of movie this is. The man is yearling, is sapling, is bearing down on his desire like a knife pressed to the skin of a ripe pear. The man loves her. The girl. The righteous flesh of her. The dimpled defiance. The man will run leagues for the girl. Will break stall doors and trample God for the girl. The man is not you, but you sometimes wish he was. You wish he was what your bones and your forest heart require. What creeps up from sleep into the first layers of waking. The man tells the girl, a fire moves through all your wake. The man tells the girl, I smell your dense sand burning into glass.
The man is not a man, but a woman. That’s the sort of movie this is. The woman uses a truck stop restroom in rural North Carolina, checks the seam of her wig. Yes, now you know. The woman. Her clandestine structure. Her delicate primacy. The woman mounts her attack in Manolo Blahniks, struts her paces before the stands. Her breasts and throat announce her. She is not you, but her elegance defines you. She is the idle mind, the hedge, the knife, and especially the hot glass. She becomes your love, which is the girl’s love, and the man’s. The pivotal moment. The father bearing down on his offspring, the mother crisping linens for the table. Hoof beats in the sand, in tandem: beast heart and beast heart. Before the screen goes static she will finish in ecstasy, in fence-leaping, God-toppling glory.
KT Herr is or was: queer; poet; songwriter; grilled cheese enthusiast; Smith College alumna; advisory board member for Write616; poetry editor for The 3288 Review; host of WYCE’s Electric Poetry; preliminary judge for the 2017 Dyer-Ives Poetry Prize; amateur fisherwoman; Retort Slam Team finalist; Pushcart nominee; MFA candidate in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in Pilgrimage Magazine, Francis House, and Grand Rapids Grassroots: Anthology of Activism. Her nonfiction is forthcoming from Goat’s Milk Magazine. She lives in Yonkers with someone else’s cat.
Featured image by Chris Lawton