How To Triumph Like A Girl by Ada Limón
I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies. As if this big
dangerous animal is also a part of me,
that somewhere inside the delicate
skin of my body, there pumps
an 8-pound female horse heart,
giant with power, heavy with blood.
Don’t you want to believe it?
Don’t you want to tug my shirt and see
the huge beating genius machine
that thinks, no, it knows,
it’s going to come in first.
See more excellent poems in Sabio’s Poetry Anthology
About Ada Limón: Born 1976. She has lived in Europe for 10 years, California, Kentucky and several other places that inform her poetry. (Wiki article here)
About the poem: The day before the Kentucky Derby is called “The Kentucky Oaks” for 3-year-old fillies (young lady horses). Though fillies can compete with colts in the Kentucky Derby, they rarely do. Yet even with that, 3 fillies, over the years, have won the Kentucky Derby. Limón wrote this poem after watching the ladies at The Kentucky Oaks. (see her reading here)
I heard Ms. Limón read 12 of her poems last night — all superb. This was the first one she read, and oddly enough, it is the one I had read prior to her readings and had sent to my dearest friend because it reminded me of her.
Ms. Limón stated that in her latest book “Bright Dead Things” she strives not to talk around things, but to be honest and plain. It is that sort of poetry which I enjoy the most. You don’t have to struggle to understand it, you just have to relax so as to feel it.