plain china: best undergraduate writing

Volume One : Issue One

After Years at the Races


by Jenna Risano

Untitled #6 by Ryan York

“Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped.” —Groucho Marx

Before the bell—
face-painted children
ate hot dogs, rode ponies.
Women linked arms with sports jackets
on their way to box seats.
Fanatics placed prayers on maidens
and mudders. I waited on line for his
Dewar’s and water.

Real men bet exactas, perfectas.
He never wins, he’s dwelt,
morning glory. He saw Ruffian
break down against Foolish Pleasure.
He saw Secretariat steal Belmont
(no one came closer).

The Clocker speaks, Pall Bearers Post—
there’s no lock at this track, no across-
the-board champs and I missed the call
somewhere between races.
Alone in the picnic area
I wait for a trumpet.

About the Author


Jenna Risano

University of Tampa

Jenna Risano received her BA in English and writing from the University of Tampa and is currently attending Rutgers for her MFA in poetry. She dedicates this poem to her grandfather: “Thanks for teaching me early about the tracks of life. I know you didn't mean to.”