Poems by Ross Gay

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Becoming a Horse

by Ross Gay

From Canary Summer 2013

Ross lives in the Lower East Fork White Watershed.

It was dragging my hands along its belly,
loosing the bit and wiping the spit
from its mouth that made me
a snatch of grass in the thing’s maw,
a fly tasting its ear. It was
touching my nose to his that made me know
the clover’s bloom, my wet eye to his that
made me know the long field’s secrets.
But it was putting my heart to the horse’s that made
     me know
the sorrow of horses. Made me
forsake my thumbs for the sheen of unshod hooves.
And in this way drop my torches.
And in this way drop my knives.
Feel the small song in my chest
swell and my coast glisten and twitch.
And my face grow long.
And these words cast off, at last,
for the slow honest tongue of horses.




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