but when there was trouble,
she’d tear off her apron
and ride flat out;
she’d get down in the dirt
and fight the bad woman fair.
She and Roy sipped coffee afterwards,
waving away the sheriff’s thanks.
At the end they sang
happy trails to you until we meet again,
sang it so sad, but smiling, as if
they knew you were trapped in black and white
with your parents who ate in gritty silence
and returned to their separate rooms.
They looked past your bitten nails,
didn’t mind that you couldn’t finish a sentence,
understood why you pinched your brother so hard.
They looked deep into you
and saw that white coal,
the small glow of you you knew was good.
They’d come back every Saturday
so you had to keep believing
iri their faces, honest as the desert sky;
you’d have to remember
how their voices singing
braided together like good, strong rope.