Horseback, the girls work
cattle in the dust, sort cows
from calves before hauling

off the hill to the weaning pen:
a quiet dance to a rhythm
I can only see through boards

as cows ask with their eyes
before moving towards the open
space a horse has made

to leave their calves behind.
No loud bravado spurring
pirouettes into dirt clouds.

I turn away and walk
to the pickups and goosenecks—
remove my maleness

from these corrals that hold
a hundred years of urgent
echoes: men making mistakes

to invent new profanities.
Instead, the perfect sense
of girls instructing girls.


8 responses to “THE GIRLS

  1. Your poem brought to mind the horse in my gravatar, Sunday. She could do almost anything, but cattle drove her to distraction. She was a mover and they generally are anything but. She was old and had to be put down this winter, but she was a winner.



    • Sad that we outlive our good horses and dogs. We have a great, 25 yr. old gelding that’s beginning to fail.


      • So true, John. Sunday was over 30 and her teeth were bad, so she couldn’t really graze anymore. A few years ago, we gave her to friends in Wyoming who could care for her. Otherwise, she would have had to have been put down earlier or would have died on the range during the winter.


  2. Caleb Pennebaker

    You’ll have to go hang out in the bull pasture where everything makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Only a “modern” cowboy could have written this. Admit to their capabilities and next thing you know they’ll be voting. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband calls his cows “the girls” or “my girls,” which annoyed me at first. It still does sometimes. I’m his girl, right? But it doesn’t do any good to be jealous of cows.


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