Her intuition means he calls her Lucky Charm —
arm-in-arm outside the stable, claiming
she can dowse a winner. All the jockeys
wear the sun like suits of armour, stern
- as new spells cast to change this child’s fortune.
45 to 1 they’ll notice the disgruntled groundskeeper
slip cyanide into the fountain pop. She is as sure
she’ll die here as her father is he’ll win enough
- to pay his way to Vegas. Simple mathematics,
he says, and the whole track opens like a dirt-
lipped mouth, makes stew of all the horses.
Can’t stop calculating firearm per losing streak,
- sees Derringers in pockets, box cutters, mid-
life men with hearts like S.O.S pads wearing
through their white. What a mess. She changes
in the bathroom, custard on her hard-earned
- Terry Fox tee, learning not to look long
in the mirror above the brass horse statuettes.
There is her face. There is the less-than graceful
way she bats her lashes at a stallion.
- Her love is unconditional and lingers long
as mustard gas. At twelve-years-old she knows
she’ll pass from charm to trinket: picture
in a wallet, whipped out at casinos for good luck.