Red Shuttleworth

Hardwood Floors and House Plants

For miles it's winter wheat
and no cows. And I am trying
to learn the basics all over again.
Flecks of Copenhagen Snuff
dried between car seats,
Houston was handcuffs
and faded yellow roses,
and she had pretty
platinum bracelets back then.
For miles it's real calm
before she asks if I got
change for a ten dollar bill
casino-lost before we met.


Let's Huddle-Up, Baby

The only thing sheep
are good for,
she says,
are the insides of cheap
denim jackets on collar-high
glistening-snow church Sundays.

Then there are good deeds for tricks…
like a wolf head center-set
within a Lakota prayer wheel.


On Cognition

Take this bowl of mulberries.
Grieving rope-scarred hand
and unabridged love:
vanilla a chrome in sunlight.
It's been a bad winter,
she says. We lost sixteen
calves before we were rid
of a hard-framed February.

Store-bought cherry pie
has compensatory limits.


On Paint the Windows Black

The cloud overhead might have
come all the way from China
or Siberia to pelt car tops
with hailstones no bigger
than pebble-size diamonds
in pawn shop wedding rings.
We hunch low at the ball yard
for paper-sacked shots
of freeze-frame tequila.
You tell me: Love is unreliable,
but we shouldn't settle for less.