COWBOY’S FOE  by Michelle Turner


by Michelle Turner

The midday sun was scorching hot, the situation grim
with salty sting of bloodshot eyes, beneath my Stetson’s brim
Slow waves of heat rose o’er the plain, the cactus seemed to dance
A strange mirage to tease my mind; the dreaded drover’s trance

My horse, head bent, was breathing dust; his gait an untimed stumble
Pleas of respite from perdition, were answered with a rumble
Vast thunderheads grew in the west; an end to what we suffered
A chance to beat the deadly heat; to cheat the circlin’ buzzard

A squinting glance with burning sight, revealed a far off tree
Lone cottonwood to offer shade, a place to where we’d flee
A ride eternal in my mind, we reached in no short course
I planted boots upon the ground, unsaddling my horse

I took a draw on my canteen, the quenching water warm
With saddle bag beneath my head, reclined to watch the storm
The mounding clouds of white turned black, the wind began to blow
The lightening streaked across the sky; a sign it’s time to go

The smell of rain was in the air, my horse began to nicker
I mounted up and grabbed my pack; took out my oil’d slicker
We jogged across the rough terrain; cold droplets falling fast
Through blurry eyes of storm bred tears, I saw the ranch at last

We swam across a swollen creek, against the rising flood
My sun-baked lips now shivered cold; the dust all turned to mud
With heavy gait straight to the barn, weigh’d down by sodden leather
The cowboy’s foe met no defeat; a win goes to the weather

© 2019, Michelle Turner
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission.

Michelle Turner comments, “Inspiration for this poem came from a real life experience that occurred years ago. My friend Cheryl and I saddled our horses one beautiful summer day and set out across rolling cattle pastures. Miles from the barn, we were surprised by an afternoon thunderstorm. We rode through torrential rain until we found an old ranch hand shack. We tied our horses up and shivered for hours in the leaky shelter, waiting for the rains to quit. When we finally made it back to the ranch, we were soaked to the bone, but made sure our horses were rubbed down and dried before we tended to ourselves.”

In 2015, Michelle Turner told us, “As an active member of my high school FFA in Punta Gorda, Florida, I couldn’t get enough of horses and cattle. My very first job was working on the school ranch for the summer. I got my MS in Agriculture Education at Kansas State University, and taught Vo-Ag for 15 years. My husband and I moved the family to a farm in Iowa back in 2001, and I’ve been working for the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District ever since. I wrote an agriculture column in the local paper, and currently do feature articles related to conservation. I’ve been writing poetry for years, but only recently decided to share my work.”

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