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The Long Trail

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For an unknown reason, an old and dear friend asked me to write a poem for him, incoorporating cowboys, old west, horses and the words:  'circle heart'

I hope you enjoy!

The Long Trail © by Trisha Sugarek

The Circle Heart brand on the wet rump rippled
as the horse shivered with exhaustion
the sun lost its battle with night and 
dropped behind the far peak

Chaparejos, worn thin and soft fit his legs 
like they had grown there
Dusty spurs jangled as he trotted into the sleepy town
A saddle that had seen a thousand miles creaked
and complained as he stepped down
the crown of his hat was stained with sweat
from the hard ride

Reins dangled in the dirt
The horse hung his head, relieved to not
be moving anymore

A drink or two to wash the Santa Fe Trail dust 
from the cowboy’s throat he stepped up onto the boardwalk,
turned and gazed at the town 
and the mountains beyond
the color of old blood as the sun lost its glory

He pulled a cigarillo out, and with one smooth
movement wiped a match on his pants, the tiny
flame igniting
He puffed and blew smoke into the night air
watched the town close up for the night
Across the street a cur scurried around a corner
a merchant keyed his shop closed and 
lit the gas lantern beside his door

The work had been good at the Circle Heart ranch, the grub even better
But the trail was his siren, always calling him, luring him over the next hill, down the next wash, 
up the next canyon

sleeping next to a small camp fire, 
staring at a billion stars
wondering if someone, something out there
was staring back

He wanted to settle but he hadn’t found
the right place
the right woman
the right time

Flicking the smoke into the street, he turned
and entered the saloon, 
honky-tonk piano music played
The doors behind him whispered back and forth

The patrons saw another dusty, tired cowpoke, looking
for a few hours of pleasure
some music, some whiskey, and if he could afford it
the soft arms of a woman

The cowboy saw weak town folk, 
forever saddled to their days
the bit in their mouths dictating their lives
wary of any stranger, their gaze sidling away

Set ‘em up and keep ‘em comin’, the cowboy barked
Show me your coin, the barkeep growled

His days were numbered 
the boys from the Circle Heart ranch would find
him and the horse
They would take their horse and probably string 
him up to the nearest tree

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017

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