The Sixtieth Year of Horror Stories
When I was young I loved to scare myself
with stories read beneath the blankets
late at night by the light of a torch,
curse of the monkey’s paw,
the haunted doll’s house,
weight of a cat on the end of the bed
when you know there’s no cat there.
Now all the what ifs follow me about,
sit on my chest, restrict my breath;
the late night phone call; blue lights;
the knock at the door; the cocked gun
of my children’s lives pressed to my temple
day in day out; the diagnosis; the unlatched
gate - horses escaping into the night;
the hooked beak of grief: now it’s real.
A Real Cowboy Girl
I want to be a real cowboy girl
And wear all the buckles and straps
And know how it feels to wear spurs on my heels
And strut around in my chaps
Girls of the Golden West 1935
I slide my suede gloved hand
beneath the rope, curl my fingers
against the hide; muscle
beneath me shifts,
my bones all aching
with the years of damage done.
The crush swings open,
the next fall begins.
I’m going to pack it in –
drive down to Mexico,
the little skewbald mare
in the trailer behind me.
A paddock for her,
a veranda for me,
Fernando’s salty margaritas,
tumbleweeds and sunsets.