Hoerth - The Bull Rider

The Bull Rider


In Texas towns the tongues of men all taste
the same, like sour whiskey, dust between
the teeth. I think of this as neon lights
flicker above, my elbows on the bar.
A man sits down beside me, smells of sweat
and oil fields. He tucks his hands inside
his pockets, tells his story: he was once
a god on astroturf. I've heard it all
before, another song with steel guitar.
I lean in close and whisper in his ear:

I wanna ride a god right out this town.

He nods his head as though he understands.
I rise up from my stool and walk across
the boot scuffed floor, and mount the metal bull
that only drunken tourists ever try.
My fingers wrapped around the plastic horn,

I wave goodbye to his Aegean eyes,
the smell of smoke gives way to Padre breeze.
I kick my heels off, touch my naked toes
to froth. The metal bull between my legs
turns into flesh; the Coastal Bend recedes.

We ride all night to Crete, and I become
a woman even gods cannot resist.

by Katie Hoerth

Published in Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots (Lamar University Literary Press, 2014)

As heard on Texas Poets Podcast, March 2016