Cowboy Poetry: LaVERNA B. JOHNSON

I Don’t Look Down on Dust No More

cowboy boots

I see your boot prints in the dust
out in the horse’s pen
and think, perhaps, you’re still nearby
and I’ll see you again.
Soft dust covers your ridin’ chaps,
your round-up hat’s wide brim.
“Don’t bother with the dust,” I say.
“We’re just waitin’ for him.”

I used to watch the dust clouds swirl
and wish them far away.
Dust sneaked inside, nagged me to clean
when I would rather play.
A million times or more I’ve cursed
the dust, I’d chance to say.
I don’t look down on dust no more,
my heart’ s in yesterday.

Rain clouds rise up to drench the land
and everything turns green
while dust melts deep into the earth.
I guess I’ve never seen
a rainbow that’s less welcome here
as dust clouds fade away
because it means time’s passin’ and
my heart’s in yesterday.

Rememberin’ our little ones,
cleaned up and fast asleep,
or rompin’ wildly by the fire
with you, are sights I keep
stored up for when the hard times come.
Somehow they seem to seep
like dust into my wakin’ hours;
they pile up soft and deep.

Well, I will dust my courage off
and finish up my chores
so when I ride the other side
my trail will follow yours.
Love’s dust collects on memories,
falls from our happy stores
of living close together, glad,
and keepin’ even scores.

Time’s dusty traces in this place
tell me you had to go.
Your picture here beside me now
reminds me it was so.
I can’t hold on to yesterday.
Before too long I’ll know
it’s time to join the big round up,
our final rodeo.

© 2004, LaVerna B. Johnson


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