Partners by Samantha Valori Pratt

No paved roads.

No motorized vehicles.

Just a horse

saddled before the sun comes up,

equipped for long days,

arriving every year.


They know the trails,

through sage and mud.

The task unchanging,

never complete.


Even so

these lands

are barely touched.


High mountains

surround the plains.

Snow tipped peaks melting off.

Summer pasture,

the grass intact;

tall, lush, nutritious.


The sun pounds down on the prairie below –

heat, dust, and sagebrush –

Cows bawling for their calves,

unsure destination.

Bulls duke it out.


Through rocks, rivers and hills,

the hesitant cattle turn

and fight to go back

where they’re comfortable and safe.


The blur of legs;

hooves hammer the earth.

A storm of dust rises,



Sides heaving with every breath,

the big bay horse,

lathered in sweat,

never surrendering.


The man sits steady and strong on his back,

staying out of his partner’s way.

Feet clad in boots and spurs

gently guide them.


His voice distinct

against the weeping cattle,

coaxing the herd.


And slowly,

things settle down.

A steady rhythm finds itself

in the hoof beats.

Destination in view.


Sleep will come easy

to cattle, horse, and cowboy.

A few more tough days,

will find high green pastures.


Sun begins to set.

Oranges, pinks, purples and blues

outline the mountain.


Gentle praise

bestowed upon the horse.

Saddle removed,

the job finished,

for at least for one day.

Categories: Issue 1 - Fall 2011, Periodicals, Poetry | Leave a comment

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