Tag Archives: “Waiting In Line”



                        You others, we the very old have a country.
                        A passport costs everything there is.

                              – William Stafford (“Waiting in Line”)

Circles mapped to save steps on sure ground,
well-worn routine from barn to mangers,
feed and irrigate with the right tools

to mend our presence along the way—few
loose pages nowadays, at the ready—gathers
to brand and wean replayed, filed by pasture.

I remember the old dogs refreshing scent posts
in the last of the light before they slept
into forever, and all the old horses in the dark

nosing buckets trying to bring the sun—
and my father’s careful words, after awhile,
you have to get used to not being first in line.



                                        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”