Three Poems by Wendy Battin

"One Man Watches a Horse Race" -- "Coelacanth" -- "The Women On the Ward"

Wendy Battin is the author of In the Solar Wind (Doubleday).
Poems from her new book, Little Apocalypse, have appeared in Poetry, Threepenny Review,
Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, and other print journals, as well as on the
Mississippi Review Web. She is the director of CAPA, the Contemporary American Poetry Archive,
which houses out-of-print books of poetry on the Web.

One Man Watches a Horse Race

and suffers because his horse is losing. The second suffers because his
horse is winning; the race isn't over, and anything might happen. The
third who watches has no money on the race. He sees sweat foam on the
horses's leather, the rictus that flickers through the crowd. Sees even
himself at the rail, caught in the roiling world. He suffers for the
first man and the second, for human sight and horseflesh.

Still he comes to the races.
Should he stay away, pretend
that there is nothing here to do with him?


Monster sleep,
what runs in your trenches, your thought
estuarial, briny or brackish but never fresh.
The tides have passed a law
for the conservation of salt, and since there's salt
in blood there's salt in every wound.
The little crystals bite. The thinking hurts.
Dear monster I

feel for you, would it were otherwise. Here where
river and ocean contend
that river be river and ocean, ocean,
both are mistaken. Where flow makes churn
and long waves ravel
and the stray coelacanth pops up, says Uncle
or Pass Not or Wake Now for monster

must be alone, I wake, obedient
weary. I dreamed you
had something to tell me.

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