The summer wind whispered through cracks in the clapboards;
outside, his high-plains cows rested in the meager shade.
Lunch consisted of an unlucky chicken, with okra and tomatoes.
She sipped sweet tea while he cleared dishes from the table;
he washed - she dried. She tuned the radio to her soap opera,
he walked toward the barn to start his afternoon chores.
He could see so far that day - certainly outside Floyd County -
maybe all the way to New Mexico. He dreamed of California,
forests of redwood trees, beautiful women, water.
It was comforting to squeeze that cool trigger,
leave this reality behind for others to inhabit.
After the funeral, people wondered why he would leave
his farm of sixty years, the house, the barn, the cows.
She sat, eating vanilla ice cream, and understood.
(Austin International Poetry Festival Honorable Mention 2011)
Change of Life
My theory is that responsibility
makes you gain weight,
worry adds cellulite,
gray hair and bunions.
It must be true because
the evidence is right in front of me:
the old lady staring back
at me from the bathroom mirror.
When I was a teenager I would
down two hamburgers at a time,
Coca-Colas were swilled
throughout bikini summers.
An ex-husband, two kids,
assorted pets, jobs and homes
have worked their way through
my life, my character, my face.
It’s now one-piece swimsuits for me,
with a cover-up, floppy hat, sunglasses
and a big bottle of sun screen
for those romance-novel summers ahead!
(Texas Poetry Calendar Honorable Mention 2009)