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A Beautiful Night for the Rodeo

It was a beautiful night for the rodeo.
Rain all day and then a sheen of evening
sun. I went to the grocery store, bought
someone else's bread, someone else's
milk. I walked someone else's heart
through the empty aisles, checking items
off someone else's list. Back home, I let
someone else's dog out into the yard
and poured someone else a drink. That's
when someone else started crying.
I shook her by the shoulders, said, Don't
lose it
. But someone else wouldn't listen.
In the dirt ring across town, men lined up
for all the hairy beasts that would throw
them to the ground. That's how it'd look
in tomorrow's papers. They'd stand up
smiling. Toss their hats in the air. Walk
bowlegged through the mud. Children
falling off sheep, women vaulting from
steers. They'd dirty their boots, stain
their chaps, drag their long, golden ropes
through the horse shit. I told someone else
she could be that brave, that I'd show her how.

Keetje Kuipers

American Poetry Review

May / June 2013

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