Written after reading an article on the rehabilitation
of inmates using retired race horses.
Raced for years, stood in stalls,
carried jockeys nine summers,
lot in horse, ‘specially a racer
thought I’d be sent
there, you know—
the glue factory, old chum,
the slaughterhouse for those hosses
who’ve outlived the last race
swollen, strained, fractured
they brought me from the track
put me on the truck, brought me
to a new stable, surprised.
Next day a man comes in alone
smells like sweat and somethin’ broken,
but eyes so open—his hands
didn’t know horses—now I know him
here behind walls, bars, this man
his fear gone now, his eyes opened
his whole face—the smell of horse sweat
honest on his clothes, smells
like a young foal—alive
hungry for hay, the feel of
grass beneath his hooves,
the wide new sky, spring rain.
Tracey Lander-Garrett teaches at Borough of Manhattan Community College and plays Dungeons & Dragons in her spare time. She’s had work published in Brooklyn Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, The Weekender, and others. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and too many cats.