From the Archive: “About the Horses,” by Mark Halperin

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“About the Horses,” by Mark Halperin, appeared in the Winter 1970 issue of MQR.


About the horses,
oh, do not ask me
how they live or what
their lives center on.
They stand still to drink.
And they can amble
across a plowed field,
move off at a trot
or break into full
gallop just like that.
As they cross my field
of vision, puffs of
red dirt envelop
their hoofs at the point
each should have landed.
So they drift down field
in clouds, the long necks
of some of them, like
anchored straps of cloths,
filled with the wind.
The curves of the spines
of other standing
horses, the arches
of their broad flat necks,
span the distances
from front to rear and
join the front legs
to their drifting heads.
Thus the horses wait.
What they wait for lies
with their otherness,
at the inner heart
of its circumference.
They, the horses, are
constrained to stand, drink
and run while waiting.


Image: Khan, Max. “Landscape in Green.” N.d. Color lithograph. The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

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