A Western Courtship(END)
The Winchester cracked the silence,
Spinning the coyote to a stop.
She said, “Now that was some shooting.”
He said, They’re hard on your calving crop.”
The hours had turned into days,
The days lined up to be months,
Almost a year to the day,
He stopped for some water and lunch.
No word had been spoken of her husband,
She’d talk someday with the need.
The stranger too, had said nothing,
But for her he was willing to bleed.
A spring had broken through the hardened soil,
They stopped to let their mounts rest,
She said suddenly, “You’re such a good man.”
He said simply, “I do my best.”
He tossed a rock toward a tumbleweed,
Which sent a “jack” on the run.
Though he spared the rabbit,
He lined the sights of his gun.
“He was a good man,” she said quietly,
“Though he’s never returned.
He was headed up to Hayes City,”
At first he said nothing, then turned.
“Been here most of a year.
Don’t say too much at first.
But lady, you’re a hell of a woman,
And I don’t like seeing you hurt.”
He told her of the skeleton,
He had buried some time back.
He figured it must have been her husband.
So he stayed to take up some slack.
“Figured if his boots had been on my hoss,
Me leaving my woman behind.
And him a driftin’ nowhere,
He’d surely have been so kind.
Now, it don’t look like you’re goin’ nowhere,
You’re a stayer, that’s for sure,
Most women would have headed back home,
Not you, you’re too much a doer.
Now pass me that basket of chicken.
We’ll light here a while and eat.
Figure I know you pretty well by now,
But this cow-poke, you’re fixin’ to meet!”
She spread out an old worn blanket,
They settled in the high desert grass.
The start of a western courtship,
One that was certain to last.
The shadows lengthened across the desert.
The sun cast it’s last hues on the land.
Stirrup to stirrup they rode together.
A ranching woman, and her only ranch hand.