- The Horses, and: Pessoa's Window
Back then snow would erase allbut gray roads shearing awayat stippled fields. On cold days,the horses would standall day near the south wall of the stable,their forelegs sheathedin mud. There was a walnut treegrew there, interlocked knucklesskidding across the snowy paddock.
And those days, riding with Reginain her troubled Honda, having just comefrom the warm houses of our mothers,we'd prepare ourselves for the horses,winter growth of manes and tails,fuzz and fur, by winding upa throwing arm. Aloft the half-bitbreakfast apple, for a moment,
like some fat-bottomed bird,a spit red jewel in its setof so much snow. The knobscaught in our throats, the fabulaof mildewed kitchens,vengeful mamas.Regina, wet-haired, glossy, tough,would push a tape into the deck,Snoop Dogg, let's say, and someswift curse would seem [End Page 124]
to set the scene. Bitch please.I gives a fuck.
Or that one perfectly knowable refrain—I never a met a girl that I lovein the whole wide world.
It is not enough to have the idea of a window.Or even the dream of one. You must have a window,physically, and beyond it, blooming poppies or flax.You must have a house to enframe the window,a wooden dowel to hold the window open.
There should be an existing memoryof a field, so that it has already imprinted itselfon you—that meaning, that lot,that yard which you havepreviously seen and now can recognizeas separate from the window,the house, from you and your body.
And you must be able to name the flowersthat grow there or they will seemmerely flags marking openings and closings,fliers advertising the lost kind of dog.And you must also have a senseof being able to turn from the window.To go back to your life.
God save you if there are storms out there,beyond your window, and a mandying in the road. And other menstanding at the end of the roadsmoking cigarettes outside [End Page 125]
an apartment building,a baby on the steps,snot running from its nose,and the landlord
pounding at the door askingwhen, when will you be fully human,you dog, you dog, you dog,living and eating, dying and sleeping,begrudging him his due. [End Page 126]
Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work has recently appeared in Fence, Post Road, Another Chicago Magazine, Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer (W. W. Norton), and elsewhere.