Where the Words Come From: 04 - Cowboy

Ashley, with Cowboy. Putting on makeup.

Ashley, with Cowboy. Putting on makeup.

We have been getting a lot of questions about the poetry within, specifically regarding the focus of each poem. Are these poems about each woman specifically? Why the Killdeer Mountains? Why lipstick? Why JFK? That's why we wanted to start a series where we talked about where the words came from for each woman and tell the deeper meaning of their story behind the poetry.

Ashley felt right at home. And when I say that, I mean she was warm like a long August Sunday. I felt safe with her right away. She was very pregnant when we met with her, due in a week's time. She talked a lot about her daughter, Mona and told us, "She's had her princess phase. Now, she's in a cowboy phase. She calls him {points to stomach} Cowboy. So that's what we call him now, too." 

When Ashley woke Mona up for the day, after she had been drinking coffee (decaf) and putting on makeup with her belly hunkered on the sink with her, I couldn't help but notice everything. Mona's bedroom seemed untouched, as children's bedrooms do...the lavender curtains pushing a soft purple hue into the bedroom. "Want to snuggle a bit, Mona? Having a kid while you're pregnant isn't the easiest thing. We were reading a book last night and she was like, 'Mom, I have no room!'" Ashley was accommodating and delightful like this, narrating her morning for Dave and I.

Mona woke up slowly and she smiled with her careful festering, "She asks the best questions, Mona does...and she wants the real answers to them. When someone says, 'because that's the way it is' she knows."

When Mona completely rose and climbed into her mother's lap, wrapping her arms around her for a lazy morning hug - Ashley fell quiet with her. And just hugged her. For a long time they held each other this way. Mona, Ashley, and Cowboy. The quietness felt so private, only theirs and we stood in the doorway and I wondered what Ashley felt. I knew she wanted to keep this moment forever. And I wanted her to have it.

That's how 'Cowboy' was written. The peacefulness of the mornings before her son was born. They were her's and Mona's. Forever. 

david puente