Horses by Patti Smith

Glare at me from your photograph
So I can feel your eyes dark on me
And hear the music flow from your closed lips
Like a slow death, seeping out.

I often wish I was stronger, wish I
Could carry you easily, wish I could walk
Without this hissing awareness of my own body
And all it stands for, all it holds

In its echo chambers of contradiction.
Wish I could feel without planning first,
Without charting a map from myself
To the great happy that hovers

Just past the curve of my earth.
I listen to Patti Smith scream
And gaze into her eyes like a lover,
Like a museum loiterer, examining

A piece of art and extracting meaning
Like tree sap, viscous on all my cortexes,
The record skipping on ‘sins’, ‘sins’, ‘sins’
Over and over like a witch’s curse.

I want to let the threads of my clothes
Hang down, I want unwashed hair.
I want a school of wild horses to carry me
Into the countryside where I can live

In the empty, the nucleus of a large cell.
I want to be so solitary that I have
Nothing to compare my loneliness to,
No great landmark of womanhood

To mark myself with. There
I can scream as she does, about sins,
But all mine will be empty
With nobody near to die for them.

About the author
Maia Armistead is a 17 year old from Hamilton, and was a finalist in the 2019 National Schools Poetry Award.