In winter I can breathe
without spring’s mad rush of anxiety
about trailing and shearing and
explaining to the BLM that
we are doing pretty much the same
as we have done for the past
And on the cusp between spring and summer,
the worry, worry, worry of getting
babies on the ground
Watching the skies, the thermometer
The Weather Channel, the haystack,
then branding and docking and coyotes
and keeping everyone
Then onto the Forest where
not afraid of the guard dogs
who are not afraid of them.
And scanning the skies for rain,
waiting for wind and
falling dead trees.
Wondering about drought.
Will the feed last until
the off date?
Will fire come
and consume us all?
Then trailing off and finding enough
places to be until the fall work is done.
Sorting mamas from babies,
listening to all that
mooing and baaing, and hoping
the trucks show up on time
and that the roads aren’t too icy
as they transport
So when the cows
are on winter pasture,
and the ewes are trailed and settled
on the desert,
and the dogs are alert to coyote cries
and the corn pile is high
and the winter winds don’t blow too hard,
I can breathe.