It was an outdoor summer party,
with lanterns, and I was walking barefoot across the lawn,
carrying my shoes and the same old broken heart.
In the far part of the yard, where the wax myrtles grew,
I found a path and walked down it,
wearing my light gray and white dress
as if it were undecided clouds over moonlight.
I have dreamed of you before, with my eyes wide open.
I have watched you choose tomatoes,
or swing into your Cherokee,
like clear water that calls you with its movement,
knowing it will never stay.
Finally, I came to a barn, its doors and loft open to the night.
The light was yellow on the hay, and as I walked in,
I caught the strong scent of horses and saddle oil.
There you were, with your back to me,
wearing Wranglers and a blue and white snap button western shirt.
Your hair was tied back loosely,
like you'd done it in a hurry,
and you had roping gloves tucked into your belt.
In my dream, you turned,
and I knew what your wandering strays must feel like when you find them.
You dipped your head and then looked back up at me;
I recognized your old shyness, the sweetness that you hide.
Kissing you is all there is, really.
Being touched by you is all I care about.
Don't you know you are water to the willow,
and the whole reason I came here?
I said these things out loud, in my dream of you,
and maybe out loud as I slept, who knows?
Later, it rained, and I went into town wearing my brown cowgirl hat,
the one you gave me,
the one people always notice up here in Michigan.
"I like your hat," they say,
and I tell them, "Thanks. So do I."
Sometimes my voice catches when I do, in spite of myself,
and I quicken my stride,
though I'm not on my way any place, even though I'm in motion.
for Artistic Interpretations With Margaret at Real Toads.
Image by Merri Melde, used with permission.
for you city slickers, "turn and burn" is a barrel racing thing. I love barrel racers.
I really do have a brown cowgirl hat that I wear whenever it rains.