Six horses died in a tractor-trailer fire.
There. That's the hard part. I wanted
to tell you straight away so we could
grieve together. So many sad things,
that's just one on a long recent list
that loops and elongates in the chest,
in the diaphragm, in the alveoli. What
is it they say, heart-sick or downhearted?
I picture a heart lying down on the floor
of the torso, pulling up the blankets
over its head, thinking the pain will
go on forever (even though it won't).
The heart is watching Lifetime movies
and wishing, and missing all the good
parts of her that she has forgotten.
The heart is so tired of beating
herself up, she wants to stop it still,
but also she wants the blood to return,
wants to bring in the thrill and wind of the ride,
the fast pull of life driving underneath her.
What the heart wants? The heart wants
her horses back.
This poem (first published in Guernica in 2011) gets me right in the feelings (that last line!), but it keeps me with the rich imagery. It's interesting, too--the images are so rich--and delicately woven together (it's straight-up masterful, the way she mixes the impossible metaphor of the heart with the horses) that I always remember the poem as intricately worded; but it's actually worded in a relatively straight-forward, simple way (which can be more difficult to pull off than baroque shit, so I'm not saying; I'm just saying), and I think that's part of what makes the poem effective: the tone tricks you into bonding/identifying with the heart in a mundane, conversational way, which is so much more feelings than a lot of fancy word-trickery would allow the poem to be.