Issue Twenty-Four - Summer 2014

Culls

By Karen Vande Bossche

If there were a range to wander
on the back of a semi-broke horse
I suppose I would be happier.
Instead I sit cross-legged
on a brown leather couch
finishing my cowboy dinner
of chili and a shot of whiskey.

As a child I saved, picking
strawberries in June, raspberries
in July, blueberries in August,
needing fifty dollars for a saddle.
In the end I didn’t choose the horse
or the saddle, just accepted
what was offered, afraid
my other choice was nothing.

I wonder sometimes if that
isn’t how I found men. Simply
headed across an open plain,
gathering unbranded cattle
cut earlier from other herds.
Hoping that when I pushed them
in and through the sheep dip,
their infected hides would heal.

Tonight lights of nearby houses
Obscure what stars show
through the clouds. I might
sleep on the couch, leather
under my head like a saddle,
my flannel shirt replaced
by the plaid bathrobe I cinch
tight around my middle.

Copyright 2014 Vande Bossche

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