About Rebecca Glover
The Wild One
for Clayton Scott
You've been riding the range for a long time now,
Herding those words across the sage,
Coaxing them into your pen for breaking,
The pinto ones, splotched with paint,
The bay ones, ink maned and proud
With Spanish blood,
Red roans and blue roans, fillies and colts—
You've tamed your Mustangs gently bit by bit,
Tamed with love and time.
But sometimes, when you're flushing out a stray
From a dry arroyo,
Herding the shy new mother out with her spindle-legged foal
Tucked neatly by her flank,
Sometimes you see him in the distance, the sire,
The wild, dark one
You can't get a lasso on,
And when he sees you, seeing him,
With a flick of his black tail, he's gone—
And you smile to yourself 'cause you have his ladies,
And it's only a matter of time.
And then one morning while you're nodding over the paper,
The farm news crackling on the AM,
The most blasted racket cuts loose outside—
You rip the back door open
And drop your coffee cup on the toes of your boots—
'Cause there he is in your breaking pen,
Pawing the dirt to a cloud of lust,
Rolling his wild eyes at your mares and fillies,
His stallion screams spurring them around their corral,
The ones in heat trying to climb over the top rail to him, shrieking
Like Elvis has just arrived and is swiveling his hips
And they want his babies.
You grab the sugar bowl from the table
And slip through the rails armed with one frayed lasso
And one lump of sugar, crooning:
"Easy boy, easy boy, no one's gonna hurt you,
And he lets you approach, his wild eyes rolling—
Tears well in your own eyes—
He has chosen you
To do the breaking.
And just for a second, the wild stallion
Rests warm, velvet lips in your hand and quiets
And you have no words for his beauty,
No words for his wild stallion eyes and tangled mane,
For the strong teeth crushing the small, sweet lump;
Then he throws his head back, screams, rears,
Beats the sky with savage hooves
And you know, in that instant,
The wild one is not here to be tamed—
He's here to steal your herd.
And steal them he does—
He wheels, charges the fence, clears the top rail by a foot
And all your tame horses, one by one,
Gather themselves, float free from their pen,
Streak after him toward the blue horizon,
Tails held high, defiant.
And you just stand there in the dust cloud with your mouth open,
One palm up, still holding your dinky lasso
And you turn and look and the only poem left in your pen
Is your first poem,
Sway-backed, broken-down, yellow-toothed,
And she's watching them go with haunted eyes,
Nickering softly to her friends as they disappear
In the distance,
And you know, deep in her quiet heart
She's thinking, Dam, I wish
I could still
© 2008, Rebecca Glover
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
Rebecca told us: My inspiration for writing this poem was overhearing Arkansas slam poet Clayton Scott talking to another poet about poetry and saying he was like a wild stallion out there riding the range who didn’t want to be tamed and broken like poets who learn to write poems in university writing programs.
I hope "The Wild One" will inspire listeners and other poets to break out of their confines and streak away to freedom.
About Rebecca Glover:
I’ve loved horses all my life, and I’m writing a mystery novel set at Oaklawn Park here in Arkansas.
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