Winning Colors, 1988

I am born in the season of color-blocking and crack,
in the dawn of the Reagan era. The light and dark
shades of School Daze dance across movie screens.
A girl-horse wins the garland of roses.

554 blooms sprout red around her roan neck—shock
of black mane, haze of white down her nose.
Before her only two fillies clutch
the purse: Regret, 1915; Genuine Risk, 1980—

our names for girls.          When my birth horse
sets off out of the gate, a man and woman are working
their eleventh hour, twirling around the country club,
in the graceful choreography of weathered

servers. The woman, just 12 weeks pregnant,
not yet swollen with her dark choice. The man
taking bets and slurs alike out of the mouths
of the club’s members—rich and red-faced from

mint julips. When the woman hands off dirty glassware
to the man, father of her child, she giggles, smacks
him on his great black ass. When the girl comes down
the last stretch, she’s been out in front the whole race,

foal of Caro, violencing the dirt.
Expectations stamped into bets, at one point
her odds: 100-1. When her neck clears the wire
into the known world, the dark trumpet sounds.