HOW TO LOVE LIKE A HORSE

after Mindy Gill’s ‘A Kind of Paradise’

What I know about desire is horses
who aren’t hungry can’t be owned
by anyone. The horse, she bows to no-one
—well, she bows
only for bribe, wheedle and charm, only
for a patch of fresh clover, or an apple to chomp
to pieces. A horse is a good thing to think on
when I can’t speak neatly. Our jaws
working in tandem. And maybe she bows
to carry you from there to where
-ever the earth allows us to walk
to my fetlocks, knowing
that to love is to sometimes keep
one’s feet off the ground,
and to look on a horizon is to see only
the past. A horse is a good place to be,
strategically. And here I am understanding
that horses know to wait
for their happiness: the swing of a muzzle
into the chest of her beloved, a hand muscling in
at the withers. That big horse heart at rest.
Eating the clover at dusk, knowing
the next day will be twice
as lucky.

Shastra Deo is a writer, reader, and video game enthusiast. Her first book, The Agonist (UQP 2017), won the 2016 Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize and the 2018 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal.

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