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She Had Some Horses

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I. She Had Some Horses

She had some horses.
She had horses who were bodies of sand.
She had horses who were maps drawn of blood.
She had horses who were skins of ocean water.
She had horses who were the blue air of sky.
She had horses who were fur and teeth.
She had horses who were clay and would break.
She had horses who were splintered red cliff.

She had some horses.

She had horses with eyes of trains.
She had horses with full, brown thighs.
She had horses who laughed too much.
She had horses who threw rocks at glass houses.
She had horses who licked razor blades.

She had some horses.

She had horses who danced in their mothers' arms.
She had horses who thought they were the sun and their
bodies shone and burned like stars.
She had horses who waltzed nightly on the moon.
She had horses who were much too shy, and kept quiet
in stalls of their own making.

She had some horses.

She had horses who liked Creek Stomp Dance songs.
She had horses who cried in their beer.
She had horses who spit at male queens who made
them afraid of themselves.
She had horses who said they weren't afraid.
She had horses who lied.
She had horses who told the truth, who were stripped
bare of their tongues.

She had some horses.

She had horses who called themselves, "horse."
She had horses who called themselves, "spirit," and kept
their voices secret and to themselves.
She had horses who had no names.
She had horses who had books of names.

She had some horses.

She had horses who whispered in the dark, who were afraid to speak.
She had horses who screamed out of fear of the silence, who
carried knives to protect themselves from ghosts.
She had horses who waited for destruction.
She had horses who waited for resurrection.

She had some horses.

She had horses who got down on their knees for any saviour.
She had horses who thought their high price had saved them.
She had horses who tried to save her, who climbed in her
bed at night and prayed.

She had some horses.

She had some horses she loved.
She had some horses she hated.

These were the same horses.



II. Two Horses

                   I thought the sun breaking through Sangre de Cristo
Mountains was enough, and that
                                                           wild musky scents on my body after
            long nights of dreaming could
                                                        unfold me to myself.
                 I thought my dance alone through worlds of
odd and eccentric planets that no one else knew
       would sustain me. I mean
                                                     I did learn to move
                                                                                       after all
    and how to recognize voices other than the most familiar.
           But you must have grown out of
                                                                      a thousand years dreaming
               just like I could never imagine you.
                         You must have
                                                    broke open from another sky
to here, because
                             now I see you as a part of the millions of
     other universes that I thought could never occur
        in this breathing.
                                       And I know you as myself, traveling.
   In your eyes alone are many colonies of stars
                                                              and other circling planet motion.
                                           And then your fingers, the sweet smell
                                            of hair, and
                                                                 your soft, tight belly.
       My heart is taken by you
                        and these mornings since I am a horse running towards
a cracked sky where there are countless dawns
                                                      breaking simultaneously.
There are two moons on the horizon
and for you
                     I have broken loose.



III. Drowning Horses

She says she is going to kill
herself. I am a thousand miles away.
Listening.
                   To her voice in an ocean
of telephone sound. Grey sky
and nearly sundown; I don't ask her how.
I am already familiar with the weapons:
a restaurant that wouldn't serve her,
the thinnest laughter, another drink.
And even if I weren't closer
to the cliff edge of the talking
wire, I would still be another mirror,
another running horse.

Her escape is my own.
I tell her, yes. Yes. We ride
out for breath over the distance.
Night air approaches, the galloping
other-life.

No sound.
No sound.



IV. Ice Horses

These are the ones who escape
after the last hurt is turned inward;
they are the most dangerous ones.
These are the hottest ones,
but so cold that your tongue sticks
to them and is torn apart because it is
frozen to the motion of hooves.
These are the ones who cut your thighs,
whose blood you must have seen on the gloves
of the doctor's rubber hands. They are
the horses who moaned like oceans, and
one of them a young woman screamed aloud;
she was the only one.
These are the ones who have found you.
These are the ones who pranced on your belly.
They chased deer out of your womb.
These are the ice horses, horses
who entered through your head,
and then your heart,
your beaten heart.

These are the ones who loved you.
They are the horses who have held you
so close that you have become
a part of them,
                          an ice horse
galloping
                 into fire.



V. Explosion

The highway near Okemah, Oklahoma exploded

                                                           They are reasons for everything
Maybe             there is a new people, coming forth
                         being born from the center of the earth,
                         like us, but another tribe.

Maybe             they will be another color that no one
                         has ever seen before. Then they might be hated,
                         and live in Muskogee on the side of the tracks
                         that Indians live on. (And they will be the
                         ones to save us.)

Maybe             there are lizards coming out of rivers of lava
                         from the core of this planet,

                                                               coming to bring rain

                         to dance for the corn,
                         to set fields of tongues slapping at the dark
                         earth, a kind of a dance.

But maybe the explosion was horses,
                                                          bursting out of the crazy earth
near Okemah. They were a violent birth,
flew from the ground into trees
                                                         to wait for evening night
mares to come after them:
                        
then                 into the dank wet fields of Oklahoma
then                 their birth cords tied into the molten heart
then                 they travel north and south, east and west
then                 into wet while sheets at midnight when everyone
                         sleeps and the baby dreams of swimming in the
                         bottom of the muggy river.
then                 into frogs who have come out of the earth to
                         see for rain
then                 a Creek woman who dances shaking the seeds in
                         her bones
then                 South Dakota, Mexico, Japan, and Manila
then                 into Miami to sweep away the knived faces of
                         hatred

Some will not see them.

But some will see the horses with their hearts of sleeping volcanoes
and will be rocked awake
                                             past their bodies

                                                   to see who they have become.
 
Joy Harjo, "She Had Some Horses" from She Had Some Horses. Copyright © 1983 by Joy Harjo.  Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Source: She Had Some Horses (W. W. Norton & Company, 2008)
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She Had Some Horses

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