Poem by Wayne McKinzey
Boot tracks pressed a faded trail through last night’s heavy snow.
Paw prints paused at blood drops, hidden two inches below.
Wind through leafless branches blew deep winter chords.
Sunrise lit a failing porch of gray weathered boards.
Embers grayed in a hazy room from a damper closed too tight.
Rows of ash where logs once laid stoked the previous night.
Bits of bark on the fieldstone hearth and fine sawdust from a dull chainsaw.
A blackened bucket heaped with ash still bent from a fall in the draw.
Neatsfoot oil and a Lexol jug beside the kitchen sink.
A spit filled ceramic coffee cup reeked of Wintergreen stink.
Fencing pliers on the counter top with a mushroomed hammer face.
Cast iron trivets of mule deer scenes and a jingle citing grace.
Warm well water in a cast iron kettle, white minerals on the brim.
Blue speckled enamelware, chipped along the rim.
Cold on the rough-cut table, fried eggs, bacon, and beans.
Freeze-dried coffee bits trapped in oak plank seams.
Hackamores hung on wrought iron hooks, treasures of long past rides.
Mecate reins of horse mane hair and slobber straps with scalloped sides.
Dirty black and silver felt hats perched on pegs in the wall.
Once reserved for special events now stained from chores and the stall.
Rusted spurs and sweat-stained chaps piled by the bedroom door.
A faded Billy Cook roping saddle stood swells down on the floor.
The saddle seat deep polished from miles under boot-cut jeans.
Rawhide covered stirrups worn paper-thin at the seams.
Out the south side window, miles of rough terrain.
Ringed shank nails and icicles hung above the dirty pane.
Sixty-watts of light from the pull-chain socket overhead.
Fifty pounds of Heeler perched on the wool bedspread.
Bent knees rested beside a Navajo rug, caked with snow and dirt.
Broad tired shoulders slumped in a long sleeved denim yoke shirt.
The cruel bitter cold of a long winter night takes a brutal toll.
But on this Sunday morning stood a healthy early foal.