Katherine Hoerth is the author of four poetry books. Her most recent collection, Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Literary Press, 2014) won the Helen C. Smith Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has been included in journals such as Pleiades, Atticus, and Mezzo Cammin: A Journal of Formal Poetry by Women. She teaches at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and serves as Managing Editor of Ink Brush Press. Katherine's next poetry collection, The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue, is forthcoming in fall 2017 from Angelina River Press.
Pecos Bill, Awaiting Sue's Return
This wasn't how the story was supposed
to end — an empty lasso, pair of empty arms.
The object of his love had disappeared
with spring. A summer so damn dry that nothing
bloomed but blisters on his sunburnt skin
replaced her. Night, the only respite, brought
a howling wind that sounded like her voice,
the moonlight sheening like her eyes, the shadows
of coyotes slinking through the night
he swore were hers. Was that her quiet knocking
at the door? Was that her humming or
a nightingale? Each rustling tumbleweed
was her lost footsteps floundering through the darkness,
making her way home and to his arms.
She was daybreak, opening the door,
her bright red locks of hair igniting morning,
lighting up the prairies and his face.
He waited for her like a yucca waits
for the heavy scent of petrichor
that never comes. He swallowed sadness down
his throat like jagged bits of cinnabar,
like a man. He practiced his goodbye
on the lissome silhouettes of swooping
peregrines. He broke up with horny toads
that skittered cross his path, that lonely road
out of Pecos leading him to nowhere.
Her heart beat was the sound of boots on dust.
Lost & Found is published by Glass Poetry Press as part of Glass: A Journal of Poetry. This project publishes work that was accepted by journals that ceased publication before the work was released.
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