When the Cowboy Visits You at Night
Tell him he can leave his boots under your bed.
Tell him you buried something wild beneath
an ocotillo plant, wrote a woman’s name there
in the sand, and watched it blow away in the wind.
Tell him you know his horse’s name.
Tell him the horse is three-legged and staked
outside your ground-floor apartment, and he’s
slow-gnawing on your neighbor’s carnations.
Your neighbor’s name is Rita, and she’s old.
She drinks Bud Heavy beneath the stairwell.
When the cowboy visits you at night,
show him your praying-plant, how it closes up
when the sun goes down, and the sun goes down
early on the East Coast. This will be new to him.
Show him moonlight on your sourdough starter.
Take his hand, place his palm on the back
of your small dog. Show him gentle.
Show him the damp dawn that only breaks
in the east, that this side of the country can be
wide and wild, especially on the slopes of
Agiocochook, where you saw your first moose
lumbering on the trail to Mount Isolation.
The cowboy loves to shoot the shit.
The cowboy loves a good story, almost as much
as he loves to leave before sunrise with
your words strong under his tongue,
riding a nameless horse who keeps
Rita’s carnations warm in his deep belly.