Cowboy Seeking Same

 

Personal ads rarely move me,

but this one did, a country boy

(self-proclaimed, but the genuine article,

not one of the wannabes who use the term

as if in quotation marks),

twenty-three, I think he said,

rail-thin but beam-strong

in his appropriate plaid shirt and jeans

and broad-brimmed hat shading his face.

You wouldn’t call him handsome or cute,

but you’d find it hard to turn him down.

 

He doesn’t want to chat or date

or find a buddy to get him off;

interested only in relationship material,

desperate for a redneck (again, his term)

of similar age to settle down with.

And when he says settle, you know he means it;

I can picture them at breakfast when they’re eighty,

drinking strong drip coffee, not eating much.

 

Lord knows I hope he finds his man

and they settle into mutual contentment

and build a life on that ranch

out in the middle of wherever it is,

raising cattle, coming to town

only on Saturdays, for supplies

and maybe a steakhouse or barbecue,

otherwise happy in their own company,

working hard outdoors all day,

cooling off with a dip in the creek,

once in a while sharing a drop

of whiskey from a flask on the fence

in the moonlight before heading in

to shed shirts and jeans and boots

(“Keep your hat on, Babe; you know

it makes me wild for a midnight ride”)

and exhaust themselves to sleep,

tangled like a mess of rope

uncoiled on the floor of a barn.

 

And if our young cowboy’s dream comes true,

I’ll be happy for him but still

a little envious, I think,

not only that he’s satisfied,

but that he wanted what I couldn’t.

 

Copyright 2014

T. Allen Culpepper

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