Come with me on this worn track
through the old Simpson ranch,
the wind a watery blast on my face
so harsh I squeeze my left eye
tight shut, a Clementi sonatina
swept right out of my humming
when I squat to pull a cholla spine
from the dog’s paw. Every six feet
or so, another brown dusty worm,
I thinking tonight they’ll freeze.
An old Hispanic shepherd
south of here wrapped each sheep in a shirt
after the March shearing; oh they must have been
a sight, hundreds of them in their khaki suits
skittering into yellowed meadow on little black hooves!
But the old man passed; his son
thought that silly; one March,
a storm took near a third the flock.
The car’s near, the junipers blow
bronze with pollen, no way
any of us can escape this wind.
Sheila Cowing lives with her coon hound Louise in the shadows of two mountain ranges. She has published award-winning children’s nonfiction and two collections of poetry, Stronger in the Broken Places and Jackrabbit Highways.