The Gift


On the wall for forty years,

a copy of some famous painting.

Almost everything a strange dark

shade of blue, a blue not quite

blue, the merest hint of green:

antique cupboard, curved table

base, ladder back chair, window

frame, even the tree outside.

The only exceptions:

white table cloth,

newspaper in the lady’s hands,

her pale pink floral dress with tiny

darker pink flowers,

large copper antique teapot

in the cupboard, the black and copper

pots on top.  Her teacup, saucer, plate

of toast, white and blue, an old Danish pattern.

I’ve kept this gift,

hung on too many walls to count.

My college roommate, the giver, said,

“This reminds me of you.”

I look at it; all these years

have wondered why.

We’re still friends.

I’ve never asked.

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The Farrier


He looks like the typical cowboy

with no cowboy hat.

A cowboy hat would get in the way

up against a horse.

Pale blue eyes,

grey, handlebar mustache,

pack of Camels

he chain smokes,

Australian shepherd, Chili, by his side.

After the trimming

he sits and talks to me

for two hours.

He tells me a story

he told me the last time.

I listen as if it were the first time.

People call him from Oklahoma City.

They want a shoer.

He tells them,

“Too far unless

there’s ten head at 85 a head.”

They agree.

He gets there with Chili,

a pup then.

He starts to tie her up.

“No need;

let her play with our puppy.”

He does.

They invite him out.

It is New Year’s Eve.

“The dive they took me to

was real rough, real rough,

so rough I’d worry about

my safety even with two 45s.

They had a friend singing there

somewhere in Southeast Oklahoma City.

Real rough.

Next morning I’m ready

for the other six horses.

There’s none.”

He packs up,

comes home.

Chili won’t eat,

won’t play.

He sits and waits at the vet.

It’s parvo.

She’s had the vaccine

but not enough time.

“The people in Oklahoma City

lied about the horses

about the parvo.

Chili stayed on IVs for five days.”

Today, Chili’s a dog dynamo,

no longer a puppy but

with puppy energy.

She and Isabella play

constantly for the two hours.

He says,

“You must be rich to build this place.”

I laugh.

“Rich, I’m not rick.

Lucky maybe,

no, not lucky.

I don’t believe in luck.”

A person makes her own luck.

Smart helps, sometimes.

Rim Rider


I ride the rim on Rosie,

writing stories in my mind.

The neighbor’s husky howls.

Rosie listens, watches,

moves away from the canyon rim.

I write of long lost lovers,

names forgotten,

smiling brown faces,

drifting through my dreams.

I ride the rim on Rosie,

writing stories in my mind.

The bobcat climbs the canyon wall.

Rosie’s ears move,

her body tenses.

I write of childhood memories,

places loved and lost,

of family joys and sorrows,

Mom’s singing while she worked,

Dad’s napping on the blue linoleum  floor.

I ride the rim on Rosie,

writing stories in my mind.

Isabella runs past, bunny hunting, barking.

Rosie wants to run, to race, is held.

I write of fragrant fields of saffron,

endless Thai seas of blue and green,

of lands I’ve loved , the Navaho Nation, the Llano Estacado.

I ride the rim on Rosie,

writing stories in my mind.