Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Damned Ol' Rodeo

Damned Ol’ Rodeo

It was a scorching August,
And the county fair was the town’s favorite holiday.
I sat nervously in the bleachers at the rodeo,
My head down, trying my best to go unnoticed.
The South is great for pageants, hoedowns, and horse shows –
But lesbians should never stand out.

Despite my best effort – She saw me from a far.
When our eyes met, I knew my chances were better with the bull.
It would have been much safer.
But I always did like a challenge.

Her smile was gentle and soft,
And her soul, so full of life.
Despite my fear,
I held a magnifying glass over my heart for her to see.
Her eyes burned through me
Like a thousand suns setting at once,
And my resistance turned to ash.

Our bodies found each other
Underneath the starry sky.
A mistake we both desperately wanted to make.
Eyes, tracing every inch of each other
like a book we had never read.
Lips quivering like we had just heard a story
we were dying to tell.

Making love to her was like living for the very first time.
Kissing her – like surviving a hurricane.
She set my body on fire, and I only wanted to breathe in smoke.

I never thought it would end.
But like everything, it did.
She left me standing there in the rain,
Water-soaked from the tips of my fingers to the aglets on my laces.
My heart pounded wildly in my chest,
An honorable competitor to the thunderous storm around us.
I held out my hands, trying my damndest to catch a few drops.
Because I knew that once she walked away
They’d be all I had left.

You can’t make someone love you.
And you can’t force someone to stay.
No matter how many words you can pronounce, or poems you write,
If her heart wants to walk, her legs are sure to follow.
 One by one, the lights inside her house died out.
Confirming: the beginning of the end.
I can’t say that her leaving came as a surprise.
Like the night,
She was quick to come, and even quicker to go.
My mother had warned me about loving girls like her.
The ones who were too afraid to love themselves
They could never love you back.

She had a wandering eye, and I, a wandering soul.
I went to college
And she joined the service.
Both fighting for something, but not each other.
We were no longer the hurricane, nor the fire, nor the book.
We were only the story…
The rodeo romance,
And eight seconds came far too soon.

-           Tennessee Martin     -

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