My Few Days Working On A Ranch

The cowboy who bragged He could not be throw’d!
got bucked off by the chestnut stallion.
We took it for granted the horses were wise enough
not to brag they could not be rode.

The red-haired girl who watched us
separate calfs for branding
and burn our ownership into their hides
asked the sheriff to arrest us for child abuse.

I listened to more country music than ever before
but heard only one black voice
though I had read one-quarter of cowboys
who settled the Wild West were of African descent.

The day I helped mend fence
my more experienced partner
fell asleep in the saddle almost immediately.
His horse stopped at every break in the wire.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney