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2017.8.29 Poster Child

Traffic was bumper-to-bumper. Cranes swung in the air over buildings-in-progress. Digital billboards advertised cars, bourbon, cigarettes, and cruise holidays. A Chinese opera blared out of a record store. A chaos of smells-car exhaust, rotting vegetables, melting tar, and frying garlic-moved through the sweltering mid-afternoon air. I turned off the main road onto a smaller street when my left leg buckled beneath me; I fell backward into a puddle of motor oil in front of a small roadside stand.

Horses were everywhere. Parents of riders were swarming the perimeter of the ring. Bulletin boards were filled with jumping courses and orders-of-go. A food truck played country music. A hodgepodge of smells including greasy food, horse manure, fresh paint, shampoo, and freshly cut grass shifted through the mid autumn air. I walked my horse toward the in-gate, ready to complete the first course; I looked back at my mother as she gave me an encouraging thumbs up.

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