Issue 7 – Varda

Jean Varda

Horse Latitudes

Dust and thundering hooves
there once was 200,000 of you
your hindquarters powering
across the desert. A stallion
in the lead, nostrils flailing.
His mares racing behind, dainty
foals at their sides. You were
captured and wore war paint.
You were captured and went
to war, lie breathing out your
last breath on battle fields.
You were captured and lifted
in slings onto ships. Where
you panicked for air and light.
They opened the port holes
your bellies filled with air.
They took you up on the deck.
Into the trade winds and wide
moving light of sun and water.
They dumped you off ships, you
fought for your lives then sank
into the forever depths. You
were shot down in droves.
Your skin used for jackets and
purses. Your flesh for dog food,
your hooves for glue. You were
shot in great numbers to
make room for the cattle.
You were broken and trained to
work in movies, where they tied
piano wires to your legs with
leather straps. On cue you ran,
the riders leapt off. The wires ran
out and you fell to your death.
And all the time all you only wanted
was to run free, to feel the sun on your
backs as you munched on dry
desert grass and nursed your
foals, while sniffing the air grace
fully for predators and water.