The Thoroughbreds

by Regina

As the arthritic railbird spits out his chew,
the strong exercise rider slows the four  
year old stallion to a trot,
his muscular, mahogany body sweats,
prominent veins, flaring nostrils,
puffing out mist,
a toss of his head,
his hot walker awaits,
farrier's craft of light shoes on his hooves.

Don't have the Thoroughbreds parade to
the races anymore,
the pastures of buttercups so beckoning
in the April morning chill,
His dam still whinnies for him -
please, no more horses broken down,
no more jockeys falling to the earth,
Ruffian's shadow on the track,
she became immortal
that long and painful day,
July 7, 1975,
her groom leaned his head
on the doorway of her empty stall,
and, as usual,
the horse racing world went on.