Hermosa Middle School
Custer County, SD
An old cowboy
Grizzled gray beard
Blue watchful eyes
Everything from his sweat-stained hat
To his holey pants covered with old leather chaps
A worn wooden Colt handle hung on his weathered leather holster
His boots worn with wear.
A wool lined leather coat for warmth to fight the cold
In his pocket:
12 silver dollars
A pocketknife from when he was eight
And his grandpappy’s silver pocket watch.
He watched the cold midnight stars
Atop his bay mare
Singing and tending to the restful cattle.
He sat there
Regretting that he didn’t go west like he said he would.
Disappointed in himself that he only trailed cattle.
Thinking with the frost of his breath
The row of smoke from his cigarette.
Time to move on
With the clothes on his back
His horse and saddle with his rope
Canteen and saddlebags with pliers
Some jerky and hard tack.
Only to ride out on one last cattle drive
That ended with a cold pelting rainstorm
Ear cracking lighting
That stampeded the cattle
Trampling the old cowboy
Who finally realized that he was only meant to be...
And he rode off to heaven.