• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
Image by

Os cabalos


I dreamt of climbing up backs and manes, perching atop,
to watch cars whirling around the roundabout at night,
before off they peeled onto the big road, down to the sea.
But I never did challenge the cavalhos' vastness, curving up
into the sky in a helix – the very being of Vigo, its bay,
the mountains they roamed in another life. Five horses,
their bellies heavy, hips wide, mid-bolt – nothing dainty.
Other streets have the Merman, the Door to the Atlantic,
endless fish on lampposts and mosaics, the Sea Museum,
the nautical jewellery shop. The city runs on saltwater.
But the horses came from the hillside, and settled inside
of me. I would never straddle one, because I was one,
I was every boom as they pounded the earth, every huge
heartbeat and head-toss, every scent and taste and choice.

I lived in the hills, saw no horses, but felt their rhythm:
in the storm that knocked down the tree outside my room,
in the frogs keeping time every night, until we travelled
to Carnota and found a meadow, a mare and suckling foal,
deep in blue and yellow flowers. In class, we learnt how
they bring the horses down from the mountain once a year
to cut their hair. It was a year later that I cut off mine.
They dressed up the roundabout horses in football scarves
before the game against United. My loyalties were torn.
It ended in a draw. Now back home, I wear a silver starfish
around my neck. I carry the horse in me: heavy breath,


Os cabalos

a life built on ever-moving through the space around you.
I have been so still. I think you are in my genes, and that
is what lets me stay put: the quiet knowing that I can run.