Stuck in Third Place

by Robert Shmigelsky


There raced under the reins of a charioteer a mare
Who loved to run, but did not much care to race.
At the drop of the cloth, the bars on the gates
Where the mares started would unlock, part open.

She would bolt out then fall to the back of the pack
And there she would stay for the main of the race,
Never breaking a sweat as she swung around
Between the wire of the treacherous barbed track.

Until at last, after twelve laps, she saw the finish.
At the drop of the eagle, she would snap out of it.
Dash to front of pack and pass the other mares,
But only after crossing the painted finish line.

The owners of the team came up with many ideas
On how to get the most out of their prized mare.
They had the herald forgo calling out her name
When the four teams were coaxed from their dens.

They started on the inside then tried the outside.
They switched carriages, changed from six wheels to eight.
They even tried another charioteer, but their mare wouldn’t.
They brought in all her supporters to help cheer her on.

But of the countless ideas they conjured, none would work
And their mare seemed destined to remain stuck in third place.
Then a revelation! The invention of blinkers and ear cones.
When the gates opened, before they knew it,
their mare was gone.

She sped down the track, rounded each corner, did twelve laps
Crossed the red finish line before the other teams could.
After the prize was handed, stepping off her carriage,
the charioteer removed the devices
off the eyes and ears of her startled chimaera.


Copyright © 2016 by Robert Shmigelsky

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