Stars

They say the open range is no place
for the soft and the civilized
but it is the only place
I want to be right now:
a lone campfire struggling against the dark
and a horse tethered nearby.
I picture myself gazing up from my bedroll
scheming as I count them:
handful after handful of stars like flung silver
hanging just overhead
so that if I reached up
I might pluck them one by one
and secret them away.
So many that they would weigh down my horse
as we made trail the next day
enough to pay off bandits and bad men
enough to buy me immortality
to wait out time until the future comes
and people are building spaceships.
Enough to pay for passage beyond the moon's orbit
beyond the Milky Way
out to places this lone cowgirl, asleep in the desert,
can barely imagine.
That's where I want to be right now
dreaming on the open range
nothing but a lone campfire
a patient horse
and low-hanging stars waiting overhead.


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