The Wagon

I’m a fence stretcher for the D bar D
We ride the south line Madison and Me
D bar D largest spread in Bexar County
We give this fence line our weekly bounty


Madison tells me we have to ride the east line today
Tells me that the east liners both sick or so they say
We’re so close I can smell the gulf in a southeaster
Blows it up like water runs in the Dniester


We’re at the junction of the south and eastern line
Blue skies and miles of barbwire unwind
The first half mile of fence looks pretty fair
Range wind blows thru Madison’s golden hair 


From under her black Stetson
Smiling green eyes and freckles messin
With the man in  me
And I ain’t too blind to see


The woman behind the shaps and Levi jacket
Glimpses of a silver chain and heart shaped locket
That hides within the freckles on her chest
Carries her sons memory there does her best


To keep him dear to her heart
She’s done this from the start
Catches my steady gaze
Smiles at me and her eye browse raise


“Ya see somethin ya like Dave?”
As forward as she is brave
She catches me by surprise
With her devastating green eyes


“Yeah I like yer freckles” I say
Leaning forward on her saddle horn her green eyes play
With me and end in a wink
“I think ya like more than thet” long eye lashes blink.


She laughs and reins her horse to the right.
Following this woman on her horse is worth the sight.
So we ride up the fence line hill
Across a rocky, dead rill


Dead since the last flash flood
Drains the prairies of her precious blood.
The fence line is still good as we top the hill
Madison and her horse are perfectly still


Standing in her stirrups looking straight ahead
Both hands and reins on the saddle horn instead
Of at her sides, she says softly “well I never!”
Riding up to her “ I never seen the likes of this ever!”


Mesmerized we stared at an old covered wagon
It’s wood bleaching in the sun like some old ancient dragon
Its fabric top now long gone
By too many visits from dusk till dawn


So we ride up to the old prairie relic
Its half missing wheels, a tad angelic
Long prairie grass growing thru the spokes
Two ox skulls in front of a pair of yokes


The motive power now deceased
Cut down before they could be released
Telling clues about this dark prairie incident
This wagon’s journey cut short was no accident


We dismount and tie the horses to the wheels
Madison runs her hand over the wood and feels
What stops her cold in her tracks.
“Dave this wagon was attacked”


“Yeah I sorta figgered thet” I said
Perplexed she backs up and shakes her head
“Oh I don’t like this David” she says to me
Her eyes shut tight so she can’t see


“The family is still here!”
She looks at me in fear
She grabs my hand and pulls me around to the other side
“It was here they all died.”


Kneeling down on one knee
Brushes dirt off of something to see
What lies under centuries of prairie dust
Like blankets from a death bed this crust


The object of Madison’s obsession
Makes her wonder about her accession
Whether she should stop and leave
To let the dead alone and the prairie to grieve


Over all her dead children from times past
From all the deaths amassed
At her front door
From Texas thru the Great Plains and more


And so she uncovers the skull of a child
And her green eyes become wild
And tears roll from those emerald eyes
“Oh no! “ I hear her sigh.


I put my hand on her shoulder and she’s shaking
Softly crying her heart is breaking
All over once again it’s taking
Her thru her own past aching


To be put to rest
Just no more heart tests
She puts the skull back where it was found
Back alone on this sacred ground


She stands up takes her hat off runs her hands thru her hair
It glistens in the sunlight so fair.
Her tears have made tracks down her dusty face.
I kiss her dusty forehead my lightest embrace.


I put my arms around her and give her a hug
She responds by giving my ear a nudge
With her aquiline nose.
Shows me her composure with this repose


“Let’s go and let these folks be”
“We don’t need to see what there is to see.”
And she looked at me with those sea green eyes
So I kissed Madison for the first time in our lives.


And she smells like leather, denim and the deep blue sky
So we told our lost family goodbye
And we rode up the east fence line
Madison and I will come back here some other time.


We only found one section of fence down
We fixed it and rode back down
To the D bar D
Two horses, the dog, Madison and Me.


 We watched the day die in a fire red sky
We watched a shooting star go over Madison and I
“There go their souls” she said
As she looked at me and cocked her pretty head.


“We’ll go back to figure this out some other time”
“You bet we will “she said as her eyes sublimed
To the present time’s brink
“Come on cowboy, I’ll buy ya a drink”


Dave Proffitt
10:43 PM


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