Wondrous Strange
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Coco Owen

is a stay-at-home poet in Encino, California. She holds degrees in clinical psychology and comparative literature.

Owen is on the board of Les Figues Press, and her own work is forthcoming in 1913: A Journal of Forms.

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pot with lid as lid of pot

My Gourmet recipe for a “Cowboy Supper” calls for sage & a big hunk of meat. A rapid boil works its way back to mellow, while the dime Western I compose in my head as a side-dish is punchy as a long toke. What’s bubbling spurs me to make this a high-plains love story. It could be kick-ass dish.

But boilerplate plot isn’t recipe enough—I want something outlaw that’ll crack my safe. It should be hot, & brand me like rough sex. The meat of the story’s my read on whether there’s good in a man who’s a little dangerous. Could he have my heart on a platter, or eat me up like horehound candy?

Pot, you’re a watched man. I get a whiff of your heady & weedy. My slow simmer starts reading like a tall tale. I stew, scrying the kettle for a sign I might be just the sweetheart for your rodeo, though I’m already hitched to the plow of all settled down. This don’t keep me from stirring things up—

a cowgirl Witch of Endor. I light a fire under the All-Clad kettle of delicious where was but a hill of beans. I’m trailing a vision into the sunset—the last roundup of what I’ve failed to corral. I bawl like a pale-faced calf cut out from the herd. (Don’t fence me in?) I could chuck everything else but

my claim on this unholy stew. It’s too lonesome on this prairie! This grub packs the lost high I can’t get down from. I’m keeping a lid on it and him. Here’s looking at ya’, bust bronco. Too old for horse opera, I give up these unhappy trails. I hang my head, and inhale the tear-jerker smell.