August at the racetrack is ostensibly
about the hot flanks of stallions chasing
wild fillies around the human desire
to get something for nothing.
Ivan watched me race
back and forth to the finish line,
balancing cocktails on a tray to serve
the richest men in the world.
In his country, he had been educated
to engineer tall buildings. In this country,
he exercised horses and worked in the kitchen.
He saw me for what I was: a pretty bad girl.
After dark we met for a drink in a dark-
paneled bar. We spoke in his tongue about
his woman and son. Then he put his mouth
on my mouth, and I pushed him away.
At night, I drowned in the moonlight of youth.
In the morning, I returned to the throng.
Old men slapped my ass and pinned me
to the wall, while the bugle blew nine times a day.
The horses ran laps as I eyed
blood diamonds and licked
coins from the floorboards, learning
one by one the old superstitions:
Never bet for or against a red mare.
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