* — August 30, 2016
Woodbine, By the 401
bunky's pickle, 2008

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.

Originally published in No Tokens Issue No. 5. View full issue & more.

Robin Richardson is the author of two collections of poetry, and is Editor-in-Chief at Minola Review. Her work is forthcoming in POETRY, and has appeared in Tin House, Partisan, Joyland, The North American Review, and Hazlitt, among others. She holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been shortlisted for the CBC, Walrus, and Lemon Hound Poetry Prizes. Richardson’s latest collection, Sit How You Want, is forthcoming with Véhicule Press. Poems from the collection have been adapted to song by composer Andrew Staniland for The Brooklyn Art Song Society, and premiered in 2016 in New York.