for Isabella Grace at twenty-one months


Because you were sleeping in my arms,

Gene Autry’s “Guns and Guitars” on the radio,

I held you up to this tragic nation.


Because we were riding horses made of rain

We’ll learn by our mistakes and the mistakes of others,

Of ashes, decay & the other thousands of fragile passengers.


Because the fabric of moss seems at one with your face

There’s nothing this poor man can show you.

Everything in the mirror is the same.


Because your fang tooth is coming in

Like a fogy pool of light through the window

And later you might have a rap sheet a mile long.


Because in the beginning you didn’t use toilet paper

Or stomp off naked in red cowgirl boots

To see the first green in the aspen.


1 January 2005


Spoken word version from Trashtalking Country.

Copyright © 2005 by Jim Cohn.