They laughed so hard, those old western men on sun-beaten chairs
outside the dusty filling station of that eastern Colorado town,
almost fell off their chars, coughed, whooped, their blue teats
killing the thirst of the long, dry summer afternoon.
“Roll your windows up, boy,” they said when they could speak,
taking turns with the joke. I could laugh easily with them,
enjoy their amusement and dismay at the tumbleweed
captured in the back seat of my pink two-hundred-dollar Ford Fairlane.
I had chased it in a sudden sandstorm, caught it by the heels, tamed it—
the sepia tumbleweed from Saturday cowboy matinees.
I was twenty-four, starting out, traveling alone. I could laugh at myself
with those old men, but the unexplainable victory
was all mine.
© The Estate of Sandford Lyne