A Poem by Niina Pollari

Horse Feet

I got horse feet
The legs of a human but horse feet

My legs taper down like pencils
New from the factory
Into themselves into the foot of a horse

That sounds like a story doesn’t it
Paranormal almost of a story:
“my legendary horse feet”

It is an old story
I say its name like I know it

I am chewing ammonium chloride
Crystals of it just to keep from throwing up
While I write this story


I have nothing
So don’t look for anything
I have owned nothing for almost years now

I light a lighter but I do it ritualistic
I light nothing
But I am still smoking
The smoke rises like what rises

Like what rises

Everything rises
Magical as a bean that, when thrown
Transforms into a bird of smoke
That flies away from you
The way magical things are
It sounds familiar
It’s supposed to

That’s the work of ritual

When I took the horse feet
I gave away everything else
Everything I had was in the bath basin

Oil from my hair slicking the surface of the basin
My sisters looking on then quickly looking away
Everything was waterlogged
In the last long-haired rain
I was never alone before that
Now I am always by oneself

You love me
And I love nothing
I just take you there

I have nothing,
So don’t look for it

Don’t look under my hem
You don’t need to see anything that’s there

We make a hinge sound
Or a whinny when we do it
I need you to say “You don’t have horse feet”
Say it sweetly like you love me


I tap my hoof
Gently on the wood like it’s the Sabbath
The cuticle of it makes a nervous-making noise

The feeling of it owns your belly
It cuddles the inside of your ribcage
It hugs your heart just like you like it

We are going to go somewhere very soon


So now you understand
The way we got here
It’s very easy

Say there’s full moon,
A forest with a small hut in it

Some rancid smoke out of a chimney that’s crumbling
Alder smoke fills the main room
It is good for your muscles

Stringy and your muscles
Flex involuntarily
In your calves

My calves are half human
My foals are mostly human but one-eighth horse

Did you know that when a horse loves you it’s forever
I was lying when I said one thing earlier
But I’m not going to tell you which

My horse feet
Take a little walk around the perimeter

I want to bring you the white bees of Rome

They clip to the sound of your heart
To your heart

To bring you the beast of Rome

Put me in the burled water
Under the moon

Watch me go under
I am forever
I take it, everything
And anyone who rides me grows androgynous and louche
I got horse feet, don’t look at them
It’s Saturday and I’m hot
From all the running I’m doing
And I’m all foamy
The spit that bubbles from my mouth is a string of beads
Count them while I am running

Is this mystical
Is this mystical is it full of alder leaves

Watch the way my muscles move
I am a horse’s purest intentions
The spit from my mouth covers this entire book
And the book is a reference to the death of itself


Niina Pollari Niina Pollari

Niina Pollari's first book, Dead Horse, will be out from Birds LLC this fall. She is also the author of two chapbooks and the translator of Tytti Heikkinen's The Warmth of the Taxidermied Animal, out from Action Books in 2013.

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