(Mather AFB, California, 1956) When we play horses at recess, my name is Moonlily and I’m a yearling mare. We gallop circles around the playground, whinnying, neighing, and shaking our manes. We scrape the ground with scuffed saddle oxfords, thunder around the little kids on swings and seesaws, and around the boys’ ball games. We’re sorrel, chestnut, buckskin, pinto, gray, a herd in pastel dresses and white socks. We’re self-named, untamed, untouched, unridden. Our plains know no fences. We can smell spring. The bell produces metamorphosis. Still hot and flushed, we file back to our desks, one bay in a room of palominos.
From How I Discovered Poetry (Dial Books, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by Marilyn Nelson. Used with permission of the author and Penguin Books.