Poetry: The Fact of Things by Ja’net Danielo

The musicality of “The Fact of Things” surprises—it’s skinny shape and journalistic voice bely a deep song about the fraught beauty of the world around us. Ja’net Danielo’s words firmly hold our gaze, right at the facts, at the bus stops and the horses.


The Fact of Things

I am staring out the bus
window, watching
trees spin green
down a suburban
street. I am looking
for poetry in the blur
of leaves, in the lavender-
blue smear of jacarandas,
which is to say, I am
trying to hold something
without touching it,
trying to see something
by looking past it,
much in the way
I look past the swollen
face of a man
on the bus bench, past
the mother with her
overstuffed plastic bags
and four children.
But all I see is the fact
of things. Somehow,
this brings me
to the horses
always running
that race in my head,
still shots of their gaits.
I try to discern trot
from canter, lope
from gallop, each one
its own kind of song,
the words of which
I’ve long forgotten.
Fact: A horse’s desire
can supersede
the limitations
of its body.
And I think, isn’t that
its own kind of prayer?
Fact: I hold this
as if it were mine
to hold, an offering
from the dirt
and smoke of past.
I see the horse
charging towards me
now—the sheen
of its sorrel coat,
its copper mane
rising and falling
in a sweep of wind
and want as hooves
pull clouds
from the ground,
lift in unison.
It is the only thing
in view, the image
that occupies
the entire frame.
There’s no looking
past it, no
looking away.




Ja'net Danielo

Ja'net Danielo's poems have appeared in Gulf Stream, Sky Island Journal, Italian Americana, and 2River View, among other journals. She is an Associate Professor of English at Cerritos College, where she teaches creative writing and composition. She lives in Long Beach, California with her husband and her dog.

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