Horses and the Monkey on His Back

craig is at the tracks   —   evicted,   friendless
utilities cut off and truck repo’ed,
lost his job twenty-two days ago now
absences without excuse but for wager
stubs and stubble grown to grungy scrub beard
today     though     he swears     (he prays)     is different
he’s got that old winning-streak itch behind
his right ear   —   the one that’s sure as a bum knee
forecasting storms   . . .   please, o please,     he beseeches
the powers of luck and whatever celestial
ghost of a chance might hear with mercy,     make it
the five-seven-one-twelve in the sixth down
at Tampa today.       begs a superfecta
because there is no patch for the gambler.

David M Pitchford


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