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Sunday, February 16, 2020


by Linda Stryker

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia said a horse died “suddenly” over the weekend on its training track, making it the sixth fatality this year. The 6-year-old named Double Touch died on Saturday, according to the racetrack. The exact cause of the horse’s death was unknown and results from a necropsy were pending, officials said. —KTLA, February 11, 2020. File photo, above, of Double Touch provided by Zoe Metz Photography to Horse Racing Nation.

Amazing     euphoria
all over my face

I am fifteen
driving a car

My Dad teaches me
the brake     the gears

how to stop     how to turn
how to make hand signals

at the Track parking lot
now empty of cars

My Mom had taken me there
to watch the whirlwind races

charging horses     jockeys
whipping       hounding

Weeks later       near home
I drove toward a paper bag

Don’t run over it     Dad said
it might have kittens inside

Advice     admonishment
image forever implanted

Of course     all that was
an ancient moon’s age ago

I did not know back then
about the numerous deaths

at the Santa Anita track
where      on average

fifty horses die     shot
each year of my life

Should I mention     so many
other world racetracks

I used to recall      driving
at the Santa Anita Racetrack

But now     all I can think about
are              dead horses

Linda Stryker writes from Phoenix, AZ. She volunteered for many years as a radio reader for disabled people. She taught for twenty-four years at Arizona State University. She founded the poetry groups Poetry Exchange and COW: Community of Writers. Stryker has been published in numerous journals and her chapbook Starcrossed was published in 2018. She is currently working on a collection.