it’s not totally boring the
flat white y pool ceiling
in the middle squats a fat metal
disk and ranged neatly up the sides
smaller disks maybe a sow belly
her navel and enough titties for twelve piglets but I never saw a sow’s navel
that big in fact I’ve never even seen
a sow’s navel it would be awkward and likely dangerous to look but I’ve
stroked plenty of piglet tummies
smooth even soon after birth so I can
extrapolate no this comparison isn’t
going to work I’ll have to think of
another during tomorrow’s backstroke
©Jacqueline Jackson 2006
A horse’s head is big, and the closer you get to it, the bigger it gets. Here is the Idaho poet, Robert Wrigley, offering us a horse’s head, up close, and covering a horse’s character, too.
Kissing a Horse
Of the two spoiled, barn-sour geldings we owned that year, it was Red —
skittish and prone to explode even at fourteen years — who’d let me hold to my face his own: the massive labyrinthine caverns of the nostrils, the broad plain up the head to the eyes. He’d let me stroke his coarse chin whiskers and take his soft meaty underlip in my hands, press my man’s carnivorous kiss to his grass-nipping upper half of one, just so that I could smell the long way his breath had come from the rain and the sun, the lungs and the heart, from a world that meant no harm.
Reprinted from Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems, published in 2006 by Penguin. Copyright © Robert Wrigley 2006, and reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.