After Rimbaud

These ruts must be from the horses,
the blue-black mares moving through
my dreams each night, and bringing wind
and rain and pebbles along with them—
and I know that they are real because I’ve
seen them. The first time was on a carousel,
we were in Paris, and I was just a girl,
and they were all brightly painted ponies
with gilded harnesses and goofy-looking teeth.
How badly I wanted to climb on for a ride
along with all the other happy children.
But I looked around and could not find
my parents; instead I kept hearing that strange
carnival music, as the same horses went
round and round and round and round and
round. And I could not help but look up at
those mirrors, reflecting a distorted version
of me back to myself, over and over again.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 35 Number 5, on page 51
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