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The Crossing

Cresting the rise, a glare in his eyes. Squinting as sharp shards of sun reflect off the river. His gloved hand instinctively shadows his face. Dust in the wind, talcum powder thin coating, caressing, coloring grass, leaves, cowboys and cattle all shades of sepia and cocoa brown. The river is low, the current slow. A turtle shell mound of mud, mid-stream, rutted by thousands of hooves. Punchers pause, stirrup deep, the Cimarron soaking up through their souls. Memories flood without warning just like this river, Swollen and swift, it sends cattle crashing, thrashing, slashing. The kid, that’s all anyone knew him as, just “The Kid”, hung up under his longhorn-punctured pony, was buried amidst those sycamores. He never did see the Kansas plains. Shifting in his saddle, blinking away the vision, the rider’s breath catches in his chest. A daydream? Mirage? Or shadows of the past, lingering, where once they crossed the Cimarron on the Chisholm Trail? Mopping the dust from his forehead, he rides on, leaving the past to itself. Jeff Hildebrandt © 2005

Copyright © | Year Posted 2005

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