Nostrils wide in elation, the horses’
chests heave under the stirruped legs
of mini-men who flash their stables’
silks in the sun and lurch over the speeding
animals like crayons scribbling color.
The horses’ hooves slash the track, throw
dirt into the four-beat gait of the gaining
animal known to the lead by its breath.
These are no gentle rocking horses,
but lineages bred to one desire: to run.
The race’s winner becomes our Pegasus.
With mint juleps in hand, intoxicated
with luck, we believe we are two-minute gods.
When the jockey raises the trophy,
when red roses drape the exhausted horse,
the color matching the blood seeping
into its stressed lungs, we believe
in the myth we have made. But who will
hold the horse tonight, caress its muzzle,
lead it home the way Bedouins bring
their prize horses into tents, sleep next
to them, the honor theirs? They know
a horse can outrun its heart. And it is
heart that makes a horse run.