Kitchen Window Cowboy
- July 27, 2019
- Jan Swan Wood
From the kitchen’s west window I gaze outside,
And see the saddle horses that I seldom get to ride.
Slick hair glistens over muscle and fat,
No sweat marks the long winter hair on their backs.
I’ve watched the ranch seasons pass on this place,
With cold window glass pressed hard to my face.
And longed for the wind to be there instead.
Longed for the work on which my soul has fed.
For most of my life I’ve been out in the sun,
Work ahorseback to get the job done.
Smelling the dust, the mud or the snow,
Feeling blistering heat or winter’s cold blow.
But the seasons don’t change much where I spend my days now.
The housework and such keeps me busy, and how.
Then I look out and see the night horse lift his head,
Dishes can wait, I must see what he sees instead.
Out the south windows I watch the cows coming in,
And the riders who push them to the corrals once again.
Dust billows up and they bawl and they mill,
Then in spite of their dragging, through the big gate they spill.
I’ve changed windows twice to take it all in,
Now I’m perched by the north one so I don’t miss a thing.
But it’s just not the same as being out there,
I don’t get dusty or smell the cow in the air.
I’ve watched the cows calve and saw the calves get a brand,
Saw them sorted and weaned, as by the window I stand.
I smell the smoke and the dust, the vaccine and more,
But it’s on my man’s clothes when he comes through the door.
My heart aches with longing for the times in the past,
When my cow work was done horseback and not through the glass,
Of windows that separate me from the days,
Of cowboying for a living and not just for pay.
Then a small sound behind me brings my gaze back inside,
To the reason I don’t get to cowboy and ride.
A sweet baby boy has awoke from his nap,
And crawls over to me and wants up on my lap.
Then we gaze out together at the cow work below,
I hug him up close and right then I know,
That what I gave up is small and I wouldn’t trade it, by heck,
For this little boy hugging me tight ’round the neck.
It won’t be too long ’til he’ll be alongside,
Of his Daddy and me as we set out to ride.
So I’ll be a kitchen window cowboy, and now I suppose you understand.
They’re only babies once, I’ll enjoy him while I can.
About Jan Swan Wood
Jan was raised on a ranch in far western South Dakota. She grew up horseback working all descriptions of cattle, plus sheep and horses. After leaving home she pursued a post-graduate study of cowboying and dayworking in Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota....