we are in the clubhouse along about the
3rd race, 85 degrees in June,
they have just sent in a 40 to one shot
in a maiden race,
the tote has clicked 3 or 4 times,
the old general feeling of futility
has arrived early
and then a girl walks by
toward the windows to make a bet
her skirt is slit straight up the side
almost to her waist
and as she walks
this beautiful
most beautiful leg
is exposed at times–
it sneaks out in long view
then vanishes.
almost every male in the clubhouse
watches that leg.
the girl is walking with a woman
who looks like her mother
and her mother keeps walking
along the side of the skirt
that is lit,
often blocking our view.

the girl makes her bet
turns and now the leg is on
the other side
along with her mother.

the girl vanishes down an
aisle to her seat
and all around us
there has been a rising of
silent applause.

soon the applause dies down
and we go back to our
Racing Form.

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript