In June, Joy Harjo was chosen as the new U.S. poet laureate. I’ve spent the month getting acquainted with her poems, which are unlike any others I’ve read.
This poem was written after reading and journaling through her poem “She Had Some Horses.”
He got some disease but before we could figure out what
it was he ran off, at the solstice. If he could’ve talked, he
might’ve said he’d had enough of us, was joining the wild
mustangs. But he was no mustang, and the mustangs knew
He didn’t know how to find shelter, didn’t realize horses
don’t kill to eat, like raptors, or scavenge, like coyotes.
Found no pillows in the wild, no blankets either. Never
patient, always a runner, he ran on, through the sepia
landscape, learning absolutely nothing as his tail swished
Back at home we debate: What could we have done?
What should we not have done? Each bit of news of him
pierces us. Not in the heart (it is long grown cold) but in the
retina, retelling ever thing we see and have seen of him.