I became his 
horse meaning 
for a minute 
there I looked
promising like 
a winner might
just maybe 
he could drive 
me someplace 
special someplace 
he wanted to 
go or I was 
already there 
or if not quite
closer than 
he was just then 
and so valuable 
or vault-able 
either way hurry 
up and neigh.


Copyright © 2023 by Lisa Olstein. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Horse’ inhabits a moment of metaphorical thinking—not metaphor as embellishment to thought, but as thought, as a means of knowing. The sudden realization that I was being used by someone registered as feeling like a horse being ridden, while maintaining a watchfulness about this circumstance and rider, as horses do. The poem speaks from this subjected subjectivity, not (yet) harmed, but awake to a complex unfolding. I wanted the lines to tumble down the page like a Jacob’s Ladder, one hinged to the next, simultaneously orienting and disorienting, the way meaning cascades through us in moments of sudden recognition.”
—Lisa Olstein