I Am a White Horse

Zachary Schomburg

I am a white horse wandering
an empty planet. Everything on
this planet is beautiful, untouched
and clean. And I am so beautiful
too, and strong. Sometimes,
I spend a whole week being
a white horse. But in real life,
everything is going to hell.
I haven’t taken the trash out
for weeks. The stench is getting
harder to ignore. My neighbor,
Betty, was so concerned that
she came over the other day.
She found me in the kitchen
with my shirt off. I whinnied
at her. “Bonnie,” she said,
“you’re not a horse.” “Right,”
I said, “I’m not just any horse.
I am the only horse.” “No,
you’re no horse at all,” she said.
“Just look at you.” I looked down
at my body, but all I could see
was the white white horse of
my body. “Your life is falling apart,”
she said, holding her nose.
“And your house is disgusting.”
I finally conceded. It had quickly
become too much to bear. Then
Betty took a big breath and said,
“Bonnie, you’re disgusting too.”
I asked her to leave. I only
wanted to be a white horse,
alone, wandering in the beautiful
world. “It’s true,” she said
from outside the house
through the open kitchen window,
the open field behind her, her head
tilted to the side to show off
her empathy. “Even your nipples,”
she cried. “They’re like little socks
of hamburger.”


Art by Maggie Nowinski.

Zachary Schomburg is the author of a novel, MAMMOTHER (Featherproof Books, 2017), and four books of poems published by Black Ocean. He is also an illustrator, a teacher, and a co-editor of a small press called Octopus Books. He lives in Portland, OR.

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