I do wish someone would ask me to the races with him/her

by Dominic McLoughlin

Ridiculous to think at twenty-three
I used to wear a hot pink tee shirt
and one dangly black earring

to the typing school in Mayfair
I was the only guy in the class except
for one man three weeks ahead of me

with a very fast w.p.m.
Key learning strategy: don’t
look at the keyboard, look at the facsimile

of the keyboard we have placed on your desk.
Helpful tip: keep both feet on the ground.
By week two we had to type full sentences

I must buy a new pair of black stockings.
When we graduated with capable fingers,
on a gorgeous spring day a classmate asked me –

by the bus stop at Speakers’ Corner –
if I would go to the races with her.
She had an encyclopaedic knowledge of blood-stock

and conditions of the turf. I said no,
thinking these things inevitably lead to trouble
with one’s girlfriend. Little men in silk.

Hot flanks in the winner’s enclosure.
Peering through binoculars, mouthing
an unlikely name from the card.