Cowboy

Back home, he thinks, the Niobrara will have risen
and fallen back down among the willow and cottonwood banks.
His grandmother’s white lilacs would be blooming
in the shade of the back porch.
He remembers himself as a boy,
washing at the backyard pump
before supper.
How he might look up to the sky
and see a wide-legged cowboy leaping into the saddle
to chase the black-hatted bad guys out of town,
or ride the next leg on the Pony Express.
He’d toss his wet hair out of his eyes
and laugh.
After supper,
he’d walk with his granddad past the edge of town,
past the old pioneer homesteads,
climb the butte,
and see the lonesome prairie on all sides.

– Kay Winter

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