The past lies in the brine
Of equatorial water,
Black ink veining where the quill paused.
Full of gold
Where Spanish sailors
Threw the Queen’s horses,
Palomino, the color of her hair.
On the Outer Banks
Each wave a breaking
Promise of the New World,
Lost ships, wild ponies
Swimming even now.
Copyright © 2014 by Jo Sarzotti. Used with permission of the author.
About this Poem
“This poem existed unfinished for quite a while, in particular, the parts referring to the colonial era practice of lightening cargo ships becalmed in equatorial waters (‘horse latitudes’) by unloading livestock overboard. It took a trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina and confronting the eerie mysteries of the origin of wild, roaming horses and lost colonies of settlers to finish it.”
Jo Sarzotti is the author of Mother Desert (Graywolf Press 2012). She directs the Liberal Arts Department at The Juilliard School and lives in New York City.
Date Published: 2014-12-16
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/horse-latitudes