At the Track, 1945
Behold row upon row of shed row stalls
hunkered in early morning mist,
as Dave threads his way to the office,
newspaper clipping in hand,
an ad for an experienced “Hotwalker.”
Listen to the cigar-reeking foreman,
You been on tracks before?
Okay, be here 5 A.M. See Milly for pay. There’s
a hot one now. Go walk ‘em ‘til he’s dry.
Watch this teen-ager who knows nothing
but that he is mad for horses
saunter to the fogged-in track, enter
a new world. See him learn to handle
high-strung Thoroughbreds, catch the eye
of Johnny, a no-nonsense lady trainer,
become her trusted trainee. Observe
as he learns to muck stalls, feed, trailer
tough animals, earn pin money for college.
Through the thin wall of its chrysalis
you can see a monarch’s true colors.
Wagon Train to Paradise, September 1973
The phone rings as Dave and I collect ourselves