Two poems

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