“A Plastic Dashboard Jesus? You Kiddin’?” by Red Shuttleworth

Red Shuttleworth


I’d rather worm dogs for a living, she said,
drunk as ten Saturday night cowgirls,
but she clobbered into his pick-up truck
outside of Minot, said, Okay, gimme shelter.

The night was cold as half-frozen milk.
An hour later she told the rancher,
I’m so bored I could piss on your car seat,
then fell into the amusements of dream-sleep.
And he steered onto a backlands dirt road,
reckoned she was likely not the dimpled bride
at the end of the rainbow. She woke at dawn
on a mouse-gnawed couch, under a green counterpane.
Outside the howling wind came from the northwest
and a cow was on the front porch
trying to look inside through plastic sheeting,
snow drifting all around. The unopened mail
said the man could buy gunk for foot bacteria,
renew rodeo and cattlemen’s magazines,
or get his hearing tested for free.

The spring prairie was enormous,
seemed to sing, Warning: Red Roses.
The rancher had nothing to offer
but a dusty sky, a new summer,
a pair of dozen-year-old cow horses,
basic satellite TV, and white-faced cattle.

from Rattle #30, Winter 2008
Tribute to Cowboy & Western Poetry

Rattle Logo