By Matthea Harvey
From the outside it is singular. One wooden horse. Inside ten men sit cross-legged, knees touching. No noun has been invented yet to describe this.They whisper that it would be like sitting in a wine barrel if the curved walls were painted red. The contents are not content. They would like some wine. They quarrel about who gets to sit in the head until finally the smallest man clambers in, promising to send messages back to the belly. He can only look out of one eye at a time. At first there is nothing to report. Black, Dark, The Occasional Star. Then Quiet Footsteps mixed with Questions. The children are clamoring for it to be brought inside the walls. The head sends back another message which gets caught in the throat: They are bringing their toy horses to pay their respects to us, brushing their tiny manes, oiling the little wheels. It must be a welcome change from playing war.
Matthea Harvey is the author of “Modern Life” (Graywolf, 2007), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book. Her previous books include “Sad Little Breathing Machine” (Graywolf, 2004) and two children’s book, “The Little General and the Giant Snowflake” (Tin House Books, 2009) and “Cecil the Pet Glacier” (Random House, 2012). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and is a contributing editor to jubilat, Meatpaper and BOMB.