Old black horse, tennis shoes.
I was ten, give or take a year or two,
driving cows and calves up Greasy
well-before they built the dam.
Dad hollering at the bunch splitting,
at me, at God, at everything.
You asked me then when we were done,
if I wanted to be a cowboy?
Tear streaks dried like a second skin,
I cried, “No!” and meant it—
horseback, just below Spoon Rock.
Amid the green, we have become old men,
of all the things we could have been,
going slow, just below Spoon Rock.
WPC(2) — “Achievement”
Every day, every evening, every
abject step or stumble has become heroic—
– William Stafford (“Waiting In Line”)
What once was wild play
when we could right ourselves
and dodge the ricochets,
reach and rope a dream
that danced on a long twine,
is no less heroic now
measuring each hoof beat,
every swing in the branding pen.
I have watched old men
ride closer to the center
of concentric circles in time
spinning quickly on the outside
to find their dot within
a slow-motion bull’s eye
just to inhale the details
that make each moment rich—
and dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.
“Hay for the Horses”