The Appaloosa

The one horse you gave me
you took back when she went insane,
when she began to chew wood
instead of the expensive grain
we bought from the feed store,
the grain that had the sweet smell
of molasses and was good for even
us to chew. She turned into
an ugly thing with her wild thoughts,
and I forgot about the beauty
expected of her when her blanket
filled out and complemented
her chestnut body and the name
the Nez Percé gave her. She rotted
and began to stink of promises
gone wrong, of gods avenging
their defilement. A man who knew
what to do with useless horses
came and took her away in
a wooden trailer she tried to chew,
and my tears welled up in huge drops
before they splattered on the ground,
as I trembled and realized I would have
to give up her own ghost for her,
ghost which she did not have, ghost
which she came here beautifully without.

Afaa Michael Weaver, “The Appaloosa” from My Father’s Geography. Copyright © 1992. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, www.pitt.edu/~press/. Used by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: My Father’s Geography (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992)
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