When I visited my childhood home last week,
I could see you in the windows of our stone farmhouse
with your pink glasses and tiny eyes . . .
No, you weren’t ever that small, but that’s how I see you
now, as small as Thumbelina, and our house too, and the barns
where the horses and chickens slept, where the kittens
and foals were born each spring. Once, when the horses kicked
their stalls and whinnied in the night, you ran barefoot in the dark
with a flashlight to check on them, and back in bed, unable to sleep
and out of breath, you wrote, Dear Future in script, imagining
me now. That was the night Dad’s horse, Ella, died. We phoned
the vet, but by the time he arrived, Ella was dead. You tried
to think of other things, like how you wanted to grow up and be
a horse, or the fastest runner on earth, or the best high jumper.
That’s what you wished for on every birthday, star,
and on every point of the pie which you saved to eat last
because otherwise your wish wouldn’t come true-at least according to Dad.
And you practiced eating grass, whinnying and trotting,
cantering and galloping before jumping all the horse jumps
one by one. Sometimes you fell and skinned your knees
or banged your head, but you kept practicing until your legs ached,
and you were soaked with sweat. But still you couldn’t sleep.
Dear Future Me, you wrote in entry after entry. Please come back.
Please don’t forget. Write about me. Write about the horse I am. Or almost am
Only make me prettier. And fast. Back then you didn’t love you very much
and hoped I’d make you better after the fact. Which is strange,
I think, for a child. Strange also to be an insomniac, already
staring out the window at the dark, afraid of sickness and death
and old age, already picturing yourself as an old woman looking back
or down, like an owl swooping over the fields of the past,
memories like scared mice scampering through the grass
NIN ANDREWS is the author of five full-length collections of poetry and six chapbooks. Her next book, Why God Is a Woman, is forthcoming from BOA Editions.