Three Poems from Nicole Yurcaba
Imagining My Father in Texas, 1960
"Well, the honky tonks of Texas were my natural second home."--Waylon Jennings
Stetson pulled low over his twenty-something green eyes,
a cowboy-soldier who parts a saloon's wooden, swinging doors,
his leather rancher boots, freshly shined,
conspicuous against the sawdust bathed floor--
a silver dime slotted in the fistfight-battered juke,
commanding Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours'
"Walkin' the Floors Over You"
for a green-eyed a girl he bedded in El Paso,
the cattle rancher's daughter he broke in Corpus Christi.
Mounting a three-legged barstool horse,
a Lone Star beer in his right hand,
the same calloused hand
in which he’d grasped Ol' Upshot's reins--
the bronc who catapulted him days before
on a longhorn ranch outside Brownsville.
Saturday night, driving home
enormous full moon hanging,
blaring above, haloed lightly.
“There’s a ring around the moon; it’s going to snow,” announced lightly, blunted by a sharp
“No, no. There’s no ring.”
“Yes, there is,” comes the contradict, which is the brisanced by
“No, there isn’t. It’s just the light, reflecting through the clouds.”
“And it forms a ring.”
If the halo encircling the ring proved snow, two lovers would have been separated by twenty-two curvaceous miles of impassable highway. And each would have spared the other anger-jacketed words, a silent two-hour jag, and a bullet’s worth of two days of not speaking that a Sunday afternoon shootout showered upon them.
Beside him, behind him,
waywardly, I have walked
beneath many haloed moons.
I wished that the moon-ring
had proved snow--; maybe then I may not have hated him
for strapping Silence’s bearing bits into my insolent mouth,
and pulling back hard on the reins, breaking my vocal spirit.
American Gothic, With a Jack Russell
If you're every driving 259 north towards Baker, West Virginia,
look right, to the pasture field
parallel to the steepled white Methodist Church.
Maybe you will see me,
and him, and the Jack Russell,
cruising, on a forest-green Arctic Cat four-wheeler,
along the eastern locust-post fenceline,
circling the mellow cows calling to their hiding, playing calves,
as we surgeonly examine each fence-wire--for tautness,
occasionally stopping to pound in a popped “steeple”, as he calls it;
pretending, imagining (in spite of ourselves)
that we somehow form a makeshift family:
me-- the thirty-years-his-junior working farm wife
whose leather work boots twin his;
and him--the flannel-shirted gentleman farmer,
inspecting his pure bred herd, his carefully tended land,
and the Jack Russell-- nestled infantly between
my denimed lap,
and our securer's broad protective back.
Nicole Yurcaba is a West Virginian bear huntin' poet, backwoods feminist, farm hand, adjunct instructor of English-- basically a Jill-of-all-trades-mistress-to-none. Her poetry, photography, and short stories have been published in VoxPoetica, Philomathean, The Bluestone Review, Outrageous Fortune, Underground Voices, Hobo Camp Review, Referential Magazine, The Literary Underground, The Literary Burlesque and many others. In life, she refuses to buy a map; doing so could ruin everything.