Garden State Racetrack
When I was ten, the grandstand burned to the ground in the next town over. The black smoke galloped into the air right over our house, and ash the size of silver dollars began landing on the lawn. Later, when we heard what happened, we believed it was the smoke of horses, the smoke of our drunk fathers, the smoke of the money that would not feed us. I remember that the ash dissolved when I picked it up, that I had to scrub my hands twice to get rid of it. The following morning we would ride our bikes to make certain what had burned.
Copyright © 2017 Charles Rafferty. “Garden State Racetrack” originally appeared in The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017). Reprinted with permission by the author.