Sold Out by Vess Quinlan

BOMB 55 Spring 1996
Issue 55 055  Spring 1996
Vess Quinlan

Poet Vess Quinlan. Photo by Jeff Day.

The worst will come tomorrow
When we load the saddle horses.
We are past turning back;
The horses must be sold.

The old man turns away, hurting,
As the last cow is loaded.
I hunt words to ease his pain
But there is nothing to say.

He walks away to lean
On a top rail of the corral
And look across the calving pasture
Toward the willow-grown creek.

I follow,
Absently mimicking his walk,
And stand a post away.
We don’t speak of causes or reasons,

Don’t speak at all;
We just stand there
Leaning on the weathered poles,
While shadows consume the pasture.

From “Sold Out,” New Cowboy Poetry: A Contemporary Gathering (Gibbs Smith Books); The Rosamund Papers (Northeastern Oklahoma University).

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Originally published in

BOMB 55, Spring 1996

Featuring interviews with Frances McDormand, A.M. Homes, Padgett Powell, Tina Girouard, William Pope. L, Butch Morris, Malcolm Morley, Jafar Panahi, and John Elderfield.

Read the issue
Issue 55 055  Spring 1996