First Your Nouns, Then Your Verbs
by Lenora Rain-Lee Good

Memories mostly gone,
float down the river bordering
the property, woven into nests
of the spring-gathered birds. Words
no longer at beck and call,
but still useful to fish
and nest-building birds.

When songs of their youth
play on the boom box, the renters
sit around the empty firepit
laugh and sing along,
never miss a beat, a word.
Dusk turns to dark, and dark
brings the want for a sweater.
It grows quiet as the fire pit
is filled, lit, the warmth of the fire
spreads, all sit and stare into the flames,
search for meaning. Except the old
man in the back, the taciturn coot,
the one the ladies flirt with,
the ex-PR flack, the only one
present who grew up on a ranch.

As the fire burns, crackles, spits sparks
toward the sky, competes with stars,
he began to sing some old cowboy song.
Barely able to mumble, his voice now young,
strong, he croons the old songs
learned on the range, by the campfire–
lullabies to soothe the cows,
those who guard them, herd them.
Finished, he stands, silent,
slowly shuffles to his room.


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