Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Eleventh Contest :: Third Place Winner

For Women Who Ride Horses

by Judy Toomey

There are long-necked bottles on
the coffee table, along with the boots of
three cowgirls who sprawl
on the couch, eyes fixed
on the TV screen, where a woman
twirls a horse in tight circles,
first clockwise, then counter-
clockwise, precise, captured
in the arena's murky light.
"It takes a year to train a good
reining horse," Terri announces
to no one in particular,
and tips her head back,
draining a bottle.

I think in terms of what a year means
to a colt or a child,
or a woman who has spent 33
trying to find what is hers to keep.
The black mare I rode all morning
was borrowed, like the acres of
goldenrod in bloom
beneath the sky's blue sail,
like my bones, this skin
the sun bakes to golden.

Melissa is singing to Rachel's
daughter, who is pulling herself up
on the arm of the couch. Soon
she will scramble to her feet
like a filly, run across the pasture,
ponytail flying. She will grow
into a woman who rides horses, who knows
how and when to use spurs. Now
Melissa picks her up,
crooning “little woman” over
and over, spinning in dizzying
circles. The baby is laughing,
the women are laughing,
I am laughing as if
for this golden moment,
I own my very life.

Second Place Winner
Blue Mountain Arts