National Poetry Month Day 23: Ruben Quesada


Ruben Quesada is a contributor to the Ploughshares blog (US), and Senior Editor of Queen Mob’s Tea House (UK). He is the author of Next Extinct Mammal and Exiled from the Throne of Night, selected translations of Luis Cernuda. His writing and media have been featured at The Art Institute of Chicago, The Poetry Foundation, Stand Magazine, The American Poetry ReviewSouthern Humanities Review, Tri-Quarterly, and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @rubenquesada.



There’s a park with dips
and mounds of crabgrass
streaming into patches
of rust-colored dirt
where I imagine you riding
your horse. It’s always hot

in Texas. Even in winter,
the snow doesn’t stay
for more than a night
or two. Nothing ever
wants to stay in Lubbock.
I mean, no one ever

wants to be there—
with its mediocre produce
and vacant walkways,
worn and cracked. Nobody
bothers to walk anymore,
that’s what pick-up trucks are for.

You drive two minutes
to the store and back. There
is a song that says, happiness
is Lubbock in the rear-view
mirror. Bless, Mac Davis!
Bless, Buddy Holly!

Here I lie in the dark,
the branches and dust
colliding into my bedroom
window. I imagine you
and still I have no idea
what a horse is like. Of course,

I’ve seen them on television
as a child; I watched a galloping
Lone Ranger, and Mr. Ed.
For a time, I believed
animals could talk.
I’ve never known a horse

but I’ve always talked
to my pets. My blueberry
and snow colored parakeet
named Frosty sang to me
when I spoke to him;
I mimicked his song

and I learned to conjure
the spirit of his music
in my mouth. But, how
does one speak horse?
I’ve read a horse’s ear
is as delicate as skin

over a girl’s wrist. But
those dark eyes hiding
a thunderous storm
and a body blooming
its skeleton beneath fur
and skin, pinned ears,

or a cocked hoof—
it must mean something
to whisper to a horse,
and there you are
carried through a sky
I wish I knew.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →