Our Time

by John Dofflemyer

read poem
Our Time

There is no mistake that we are here
to work together, to hold the fragile in
abeyance and focus on routines we know –

to care with sure and calloused hands
and sort unspoken grief to unseen pens
to haul home like our own stray cattle

when it’s done. Scattered by distance
apart from the world and its tragic
consequences – its sad ambitions

and addictions – we come to celebrate
and revere our skills with the unpredictable
and rise to persevere as one. Sometimes

the heart, or is it the soul that shudders,
or is it the moon at its perigee that pulls
emotions up like swirling tides around us

that we dare not speak for fear of hearing
our own voice quake? Is it age worn thin?
We work around raw and tender parts,

find new ways to hold our rope and rein
until time heals the hole in each of us –
neighbors for a long time – it is our time.

for Kenny & Virginia McKee

© John Dofflemyer

JOHN DOFFLEMYER is a fifth-generation rancher in the southern Sierra Nevada foothills. His creative work as a writer and editor reflects his deep connection with the land and ranch life. Dofflemyer edited the Dry Crik Review of Contemporary Cowboy Poetry, an innovative periodical, from 1991 to 1994 and has also produced numerous poetry chapbooks through Dry Crik Press. He and his wife, Robbin, also maintain a blog, Dry Crik Journal: Perspectives from the Ranch. https://drycrikjournal.com/