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Toys for a Desert

by Stephen Smith

Arabian. Of late,
only for horses.
Known once, or
a version known,
made of gauze
and pins and
common skins.
Makers all working
on versions now
known, hands
detailing difference.
A first horse,
a mostly sheer
mane, a one hand
to ten scale, selling
as real, as real is
glass eyes. A second,
and more of the same,
but green, iridescent and
wrong, though not in the
hands that altered this
version. There, as though
there were no need for
windows. There, as if flat
in scale and in speech,
using Argus for dress-up,
a chance of romance
or fear. Brightened on edges,
dark in its mid-space.
Nothing a mare-doll
in making can’t see,
and given for things that are
kept in a drawer.
The horses are sleeping,
but look nonetheless.
They’re named for their
makers, the versions
we know of, the ones
that keep secret
the shapes of their manes.

Stephen Smith teaches at Santa Clara University. He is a frequent contributor to Kitchen Sink

Posted in Paper City

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