Life Line

Paul looks at his hands
and feels they are the wrong hands.

Someone else’s hands he found
like lost gloves on the roadside.

These hands have more knowledge of natural rope
and how to bulldog a steer then tie it up.

They have aches where he has never ached
and two fingers at unnatural angles.

Even though these hands feel like someone else’s hands
they accept Paul’s blood pumped by his heart.

Their skin is dry all over and cracked in places
with calluses he does not remember earning.

They do not know how to grip a baseball
to throw a knuckle curve.

These hands instantly ball into a fist
every time they hear the word Nigger

ready to do violence to whoever spoke so foolishly—
in a darkened alley or out in the open if necessary.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

post script

Happy New Year. My wish for you is that you have the persistence to turn your New Year’s resolutions into reality. May you see the wonder of this world daily.

Mending Boundaries

Thor stood before Paul.
Lori, Delphi and myself a few steps behind him.

This occurred on the mountain at the tree line
as Paul claimed it happened before.

Thor did not wear the Marvel Hero outfit
but a cowboy hat, bandanna

faded patched jeans
and boots with more miles than leather.

Thor’s hammer was there—
put to the task of mending fence.

Shiny barbwire replaced
broken rusted barbwire.

The summer cows gave us room.
Black bears liked to poke their noses

out of the tree line
to gaze at Thor working.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Taking Stock

Paul undresses.
He strips behind Denver skyline.

He evaluates his body.
There is no cowboy left in him.

Only the remnant bruises, scars
and mended bones.

He buttons a clean shirt.
He alters a setting in his brain

to Taos, New Mexico
and the mountains behind it,

the comfort there
on the rocky slopes

with a string of tourists
on horses that do most of the work.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney