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Guernica at MOMA

Jonathan Stolzenberg


I was ten,

I wanted an egg salad sandwich in the cafeteria, wanted

to see Pablo’s funny goat in the courtyard.

No.


The horse:

black lines scratched on a world of white exposed

its great thick neck, head turned up to empty air.

Dagger-toothed mouth screamed,

balled buccal muscles strained from lifting its railed chest and back

to legs that might run to sweet grazing.


I moved from sketch to sketch to painting—

Screaming people,

Broken buildings and impossible and there above the horse,

A naked light bulb—pupil of an eye.


I stood there.

Horse took me, took all I was, expanded to fill the room,

rode me.


We two became chimera in a world of black and gray,

white spaces shined,

offered peace but no entrance.


I stood there. I stand here,

this memory stretches like metal heated under pressure,

frozen, ready to fissure.


The horse riding,

still riding me.

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