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VII. Call to the Post
Kentucky Horse Park

The memorial stands to crown Man o’ War,
Secretariat sired by distant blood,
royal stakes and garlands
trickling dew to gather
where each chestnut colt stands
proud, dawn folding back its copper hood.

The light is simple. Each quiet, warm stable
heavy with the tang of manure,
blue starlings whistling,
the air fresh with subtle
notes, perfumes and light falling
heavier and heavier on this portrait of nature

carved into art with patient hands of a dream,
a dream tended with a gardener’s
care. Red iron seals the kiss
of fire rising with steam,
the farrier’s wrist turning after a hiss
of heat, memories forged from water: winners

wreathed heavy with roses – each fired petal
bright as the sun. But all that’s gone,
and all that’s left is the fresh
perfume, the subtle
notes of brass songs over retired flesh,
the angled sun on a name etched deep in stone.