Henri Michaux

A Dwarf Pony

I keep a dwarf pony in my home.  He likes to gallop in my room.  It's my hobby.

At first I was worried.  Would he get any bigger, I asked myself.  At last my patience has been rewarded.  Now he is almost two feet six inches tall and eats and digests adult food.

The real source of trouble was Helen.  A tiny poop indisposed her.  She would come unglued.

"Look at his derriere," I told her, "how much poop can he make?"  But she just…  Well, tough luck.  She is out of the picture now.

Something else has been worrying me.  Bizarre changes, all of a sudden, come over him on certain days.  There!  In the blink of an eye, his head lifts up, his back curves and twists, fraying and clacking in the wind coming through the window.

Uh oh!

I ask myself whether he is disguised as a horse just to fool me.  No horse, not even a dwarf pony, unfurls and clacks in the wind, not even for a few seconds.

I just don't want to have been played for a fool, not after the devotion I’ve shown him, after so many nights spent watching over him, protecting him from rats, lurking dangers, childhood fevers.

There are days when his dwarfish reflection in the mirror unnerves him.  He gets a desperate look.  Or a rut coming on, he hurdles the chairs in great leaps and he whinnies, desperately.

His neigh turns the heads of the females in the neighborhood, dogs, hens, mares, mice.  "No way," each of them decides, "every woman must stick to her own instincts.  It's none of my business."  And to this day no female has answered his call.

My dwarf pony looks at me with distress, with fury in his eyes.

But who is to blame?  Me?

 

Translated by Michael Taormina