Ask any poet. Any writer. Sitting alone in a chair, we all ask ourselves that. I started writing before learning the alphabet. No kidding. Ask my Mom. She loves telling tales on me. Anyway, before it’s all over, I’ll probably publish all my poetry here –including those published elsewhere–one day perhaps I’ll include short fiction.
In the back of my head –someplace–is a piece I read a long time ago. It sounds like it came from Larry McMurtry, but I dunno. That helped me realize the perishable nature of everything I do. Ironed shirts are worn, get wrinkled. Dinner gets eaten. I teach one batch of kids to write; they leave; another batch comes.
I’m comfortable in the universe now, and try to live in a place that acknowledges we’re all passing through. This is the how I think it went.
* * * * *
The story takes place in the 1800’s–on a hilly prairie–out west.
A thin, tall woman with long yellow hair
lives in a cabin on the side of a hill; her man has gone to the fort to sell horses. He will stop at the general store before coming home.
He’ll bring supplies for the winter.
That was six years earlier, as nearly as she recalls.
She goes for the supplies now, each day looking for him
–she listens on the wind in the evening—
sets two places at table—
and cooks for two.
Local cowboys and people in town who see her every few months say she is crazy.
She doesn’t say much;
checks for mail at the store
—nothing comes except news her mama has died—
She buys supplies, as well as ink and writing paper
–and keeps watch for a familiar horse and rider.
After a while, men working the ranches south of the hills
–driving cattle, riding fence lines—
noticed bits of paper tied to tumbleweeds.
They are not addressed or signed. They describe the west–the smells and flavors and sounds—
Whisper of sewing by firelight, carving buttons out of bone. Some describe places remembered.
All sound of a wish to be heard by someone downwind of the tall, thin woman– her long yellow hair pinned back–who ties notes to tumbleweeds.
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Writings published here are the original compositions of © Kate McIntire, except where noted. They are Copyrighted and full attribution must be given when used elsewhere & must include a link to the original. For noncommercial use only.