He woke quiet, ate potatoes and eggs
sitting alone on a cottonwood stump in the sun.
At noon he took a rifle, burlap bag, and handful
of dried apples,
saddled the glass-eyed gelding, corralled
the wayward mare,
whistled one long high note for the hound
and was gone.
It was late the first summer, river running
low, meadow grass tassels paled by wind.
I weeded the garden one faded row at a time
while the goats lazed in barn shade
and the mare paced,
nickering again and again.
He returned at dusk, drunk on solitude, singing
in time with the gelding's rocky trot,
moccasined feet wet with mud,
the burlap bag he tossed me
stuffed full of mint
from the beaver slough.
Laurie Wagner Buyer's freelance articles and photographs have appeared in dozens of reviews, periodicals, journals, and anthologies. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, Glass-eyed Paint in the Rain, Red Colt Canyon, Across the High Divide, Cinch Up Your Saddle, Infinite Possibilities: A Haiku Journal, Accidental Voices, and Reluctant Traveler; a novel based on a true story Side Canyons; two memoirs, Spring’s Edge: A Ranch Wife’s Chronicles and When I Came West; and an e-book guide of self-editing tips Working with Words.
Laurie has received the Beryl Markham Prize for Creative Nonfiction, the Western Writer’s of America Spur Award in Poetry, has twice been named a finalist for the Colorado Book Award and for the Women Writing the West Willa Cather Literary Award. She also received the 2010 ForeWord Review Book of the Year Award Honorable Mention for When I Came West.
"Gathering Mint" was published in Graining the Mare: The Poetry of Ranch Women.