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‘Equalizer’


Arms clasped at the dip of his spine
smooth against the silk sheen of his waistcoat —
bowler hat tipped.
He watches two sons ride one enamelled steed
of the galloper carousel.

The horse's feet never touch the ground,
steamed-up, they go round like a zoetrope —
under the mushroom spokes of the awning.
The father's shadow laid out in front
like a drunk man in the Hall of Mirrors.

One of these boys, forty odd years on,
will flutter a betting slip that breaks him,
watching his jockey-less nag cross the line
that keeps running until lathered.


Karl Riordan