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They say my hands are strong enough
to draw blood on the bits in a colt’s



mouth.

They don’t notice

how I will only eat
collards 

for a month before the post-date.



As trainers pace chestnut
geldings and smoky colts over
 
the Kentucky clay, training them
for the derby, I rise by moonlight
 
and pass out my strength to the soil
below the outhouse. My race has
 
only given me the notices
of Darkie or Boy and a good
 
piece of the purse. My race has given
me hands big enough to hold 
 
the rein and whip. My race has given
me the blessing of running
 
myself to death to make weight.
Isn’t that what race is about?

Jacob T. McCall is a graduate of Rutgers-Newark M.F.A. Program. His work has appeared in Future Earth Magazine and The Ampersand. He is currently researching and writing a chapbook, American Snapmare, on violence, mental illness and the African-American experience.

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