Chrissy Martin


When Ron drove us to the track to spend
the day watching races, my mother and I spent

cup holders full of change mesmerized by the glow
of claw games. If you weren’t in charge of the

joystick, you pressed your forehead to the side
of the glass, guiding the other like surgery. Between

wins, we huddled over fold-out tables in the stale,
gray cafeteria, trying to keep the grease of racetrack

hot dogs from dripping onto our jeans, listening
for shouts of our horse’s name or any others

that meant we could go home. We began
to wear tall, thin jackets to wrap our stuffed

animal winnings in when the hug of our arms
wasn’t enough—knotted the sleeves together and

slung them over our shoulders, proud as designer
purses. Once, after nearly clearing out the entire

machine, we heard Trixie Sue by a head! Found
ourselves in a winning circle snapshot, coatbags

under our arms, tops of plush heads poking out,
pairs of beaded eyes reflecting the camera’s flash.

Chrissy Martin is a PhD student at Oklahoma State University and a recent graduate from the Poetry MFA program at Columbia College Chicago. She also holds a BA in English from The University of Akron with minors in Creative Writing, Women’s Studies, and Popular Literature and Film. She is the Poetry Editor for Arcturus Magazine and has previously worked as an editor for Columbia Poetry Review and RHINO Poetry. Her work has appeared in Amazon’s Day One, (b)OINKLUMINA and Small Po[r]tions. Find her at