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Trying Fourleggedness

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The boy and the girl were mostly gesture,
a clouded outline, the pencil lifting, lowering
to get at the idea of childhood, not the sour milk
and scraped knee of it. Her skirt was a swoop
of ink, his hand invisible in an undrawn pocket.
Circles make up the majority of the face. We are all circles
and planar suggestion. If  the girl wants to be a horse
she need only walk into the outline of one
and line up her body with the chest. We’ll fill in
the rest, and before you know it, she’s a natural.
Who will ride her? The boy doesn’t know how.
He has a hankering to sketch in a saddle.
When she tosses her head, he mocks up a bridle.
He mocks her. A bridle for a bride, he says,
which doesn’t seem like what little boys say,
but he wasn’t so little, and she didn’t run away.

Source: Poetry (December 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Trying Fourleggedness

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