Poems

The Poetry That Matters

Spring

Winter
blew
into
spring
as it often
does
in Wyoming.
Blizzard
cold
snow blocking
doors
and walks
long into
April. The virus
still far
away
from us
Wuhan
New York
Los Angeles.
Then -
coming
to us
slowly
and sincerely
killing
old
then young.
The longest
month November
waiting
for the test
the grocery orders
on the steps
Nights
dreaming
of my
little girl
house
light and
free.
Baking cakes
to throw away
making lists
of friends
to call
and never calling.
Reading everyday
of those
working
in sweaty
packing plants
and dying.
Working
in warehouses
hospitals
nursing homes
and dying.
Students
Mothers
Grandmothers
politicians
and cops -
Dying.

Spinning

We live
in a
cocoon
spun
by the virus
the boy
and I.
He -
just beginning
his life,
me -
just ending
mine.
We venture
out
on the odd
day
never
sure
of our
welcome
with
the masked
and the unmasked.
Hurrying
home
to wonder
at
our
new world.

Mayday

Breakfast
at the Riverton JBs
big fat
round snow
falling on
hats and boots
vest wet around
the shoulders and waist.
Ranchers sitting
spread at
the end of
the room
two or three
arms between
legs wide
bodies angles
in the chairs.
Words
about dogs
and moisture
trucks and hay.

Family

I dream
of that
Irish
tribe
sitting
in heaven
my aunts
in flowered
dresses and
aprons
the men
in open-collared
shirts with
white undershirts
snowing
at the neck
they
play
cards
and smoke
waiting
for me
to take
my
place
at
the
table.

The Librarian

She wore her
short blond
hair
in perfect
tight curls
around her face
had a tall
gangling
cowboy
that sent
her yellow roses
and took her
to the bar
on Cheyenne Day.

Wild Bill

You brought me
here as a bride -
Still a girl
left me alone
in a wild
mountain
town
snow blowing through
the cracks
in the windows
coal dust
sifting up
through
the floor.
I stayed, and you went
traveling to
other cities
and other women.

I grew
into the dust
and the wind
grieving my Wyoming men
learning
to love the sky.

Seeing You Again

Well - I wish
I'd been
wearing
an evening
gown and
tiara
was
15 pounds lighter
and ten years
younger
but I might
have looked
awkward
walking
down the sidewalk
in Rawlins, Wyoming
in the middle
of the day
in an evening gown
and a tiara.

Across a Dirt Road

They passed
within
months
of each
other -
Two old
women
living
their lives
together
across
a dirt road.
Rich and poor-
Big house
and small.
Lived through
children
and husbands
birth
and death.
Martini days
and chokecherry
wine nights.
Lived
in the end
without men
and without hope
Forgave
each other
the lies
and deceptions
and
fought
each other
in the end
so they could part.

Tumbleweed

Aunt to Uncle
Uncle to Aunt
pillar to post
jammies rolled
around
a toothbrush
and day of the week
panties
Nowhere
home
nowhere
mine
invisible
and quiet
book in
hand
heart in
book.

Western Girl

I've got a
four-wheel drive
heart.
Western girl
always
ready
for
a rough road.

Mayday

Breakfast
at the Riverton JBs
big fat
round snow
falling on
hats and boots
vests
wet around
the shoulders and waist.
Ranchers sitting
spread at
the end of
the room
two or three
arms between
legs wide
bodies angles
in the chairs.
Words
about dogs
and moisture
trucks and hay.

Merry, Merry

Lander, Wyoming
at Christmas
blue lights
through
the bright
bright glow
of the
bar.
Crisp cold
from the sky
And you.
Only you.

Together Again

I will leave Wyoming
and you leave LA.

We will meet
in Vegas
and talk
about
when
we were young
and lived
in the mountains –

Times alone
in the night
barely grown
children
rolling
in an iron bed
keeping warm
and trying to heal old wounds.

We will
talk about
our unborn
children
move
together
in the
night
and try
to heal
our wounds.

Grandma

My Grandmother
wore
an apron
faded flowers
from neck
to knee
pockets full
of bric a brac,
buttons
ribbons
and bows.
Sewed
my
dresses
and
knitted
my slippers
with
such
care and
love
I could
feel
it
in my toes.

The Depot

Now that
we are
no longer
desperados
no more
waiting
for the train
or for love
no more looking
forward
mostly looking
back
we lie to
each other
even more now
pretending
we could
have stayed
together
could have
abandoned
our lonely ways
to be
both
more and less
than
we have become.

Goodbye

Three years
now
and
it seems
like yesterday
and forever.
So many things
I have to say
and no one
to say them to.
Dan married
that girl,
my friend, the day
after you died.
Barbara died
and Dennis got a girlfriend.
and then
another girlfriend.
I lost my job
and it was
mean and unfair.
I sold your house
and got rid of all
your stuff and
I wish I had done
it all differently
but I had trouble
finding my way
through that storm.
When it was all done
I fell into
to an old darkness
of mine
but refused to stay
and struggled my
way back up.
The first year
I was lonely
in a way
I have never been
before.
I went on Ok Cupid
and never answered
my mail.
I went to a
high school reunion
and an
old man
told me he
had always loved
me.
I took a trip
down a river
on a
beautiful boat.
Got a tattoo
grew my grey hair
long.
Learned to cook
walked every day
Wyoming let me
stopped running
stopped hiding
stopped telling
myself no.

Audrey Lavern

A picture
no one
else
was
to see.
A picture
of a woman
I never knew
as that girl.
Bare shoulders
arms
across the bare breast.
Sweet smile
to the photographer.

I hope
he loved
you
as much
as you deserved
and
as long
as you wanted.

Mother of the Bride

Dress
size 16
mauve
or
light blue
long sleeves
to cover
the waving arms
and skirt
to cover
the thighs
huge corsage
will cover
the sagging
breast
as she sits
in the front pew
alone
with her ex
behind
attached
to a tiny
little hard
body
that he is
trying so hard
to love.

Widow

I saw
his picture
in the
Cheyenne paper
obits
today-
looking like
a young
Mario Lanza
she was
listed as
longtime companion –

I remember
how he
drank
and beat her
left the babies
alone one
night
to go to the bar- I wondered
how
she
would
replace him.

Scars

Hands
with little
knicks
along
the fingers
from
cutting
chickens
and salads
sandwiches
and lumber.
A hunk
of skin
gone
from
the thumb
an accident
long
ago
hand
through
a windshield
glass
through
the scalp.
Long scar
along
my thigh
old
open
well
children
playing
on edge.
Coffee burns
on the
calf
surgery
scars
deep
in me
from
the child.
Open
wounds
in
the heart
that
always
loved
men.

Cowboy Church

Crisp
blue
sky
white
sun
red letters
on the stands
cowboys
in blue
and black
bull dogger
with a Bible
and a
pretty wife.

Auntie

I could see her
now
in my child's
eye
sitting in the
smoky
afternoon light
as she sewed
the jacket.
Her stitches always
perfect
everything she made
done with love
and care.
She made the coat
for her sister
something
to wear
in the cool
mountain nights.
Love to throw on
as she dashed
to close
the doors
of the bar
and feed the cats.
Brown and blue
wool
she
wore it
for years
the lining
never pulling
out
the sleeves
worn
only
around the edges.
I wear it now
on cold days
in my
law class
and think
about the
women who raised me
how far I've
come from
them -
what
I left behind.

Darla Ann

I like
to think
of you
in your mountains
with your
Daddy
and your sons
riding that
sorrel mare
up through
the glade
in the sun
and
shade
of an
August afternoon.

After Life

You said
you would
wait for me -
now
that you have
used up
our youth
pushed your
body through
life
with anger
and booze
needles
in your arm
women
in your eyes
will you wait
for me
and break
my heart
in heaven too?

Before

The before
times
will
not come back.
Not now -
not after
being inside
for so long.
Not after
all the pain
all the loss
all the
anger and fear.
The before
times
will be
a place
we
remember
without
our masks.

The Journeyman

He was not
a lover
but a smooth
technician -
practiced moves
with practiced
hands and
practiced
blue eyes.
I rewarded him
with
practiced sighs.