by Laura Foley
Does the Wyoming sun shine hot enough to make me sweat,
in my red-checked cowgirl shirt and dungarees?
As he holds the rope controlling Thunder, does he patiently explain
my pony’s name in his sonorous voice, Born in the midst of a storm?
Do we stop at an icy stream to dismount,
shucking our boots, as we prepare to wade,
a new word I repeat with sudden feeling,
as my feet freeze, as I see my first word at three.
Does he lead me gently as he did the pony, to sit shivering
while he gathers wood to build a fire to warm my feet?
Does he intuit what I like, or do we share the same taste
for fire-roasted hot dogs without mustard, ketchup?
Does he help me pull my boots back on,
teach me to mount the pony on my own?
Does he teach me how warm a father can be—
unlike mine, in his chilled city penthouse?
* * * * *
"The Wrangler" appears in Laura Foley's chapbook, WTF (CW Books).
Laura Foley is the author of six poetry collections, including, most recently, WTF and Night Ringing. Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. A palliative care volunteer in hospitals, with an M.A. and a M. Phil. in English Lit. from Columbia University, she lives with her partner, and three big dogs among the hills of Vermont.