NATIONAL SENIOR POET LAUREATE
Patricia Frolander

Father when You call

let me be
feeding horses in the big pasture
at five below zero
inhaling scent of alfalfa, breath frosting eyelashes
years written on my face
not in my heart

or let me be
fencing in the west pasture
pulling up wire from pungent earth
where snow bent its back
tightening each strand against errant calf,
while meadowlarks greet springtime's blush

or let me be
gathering in the hills
content to drink from a battered canteen
the sweetest water in Crook County
my heeler quick to roust the cow from brush,
my mare eager to turn a stray

or let me be
sleeping in the old ranch house
next to my partner
whose gentle snores match my own,
arthritic hands joined
horse-miles and hay-miles behind us

Patricia Frolander
Sundance, Wyoming

Patricia Frolander
At age 66, Patricia Frolander is an active rancher. She was haying when the letter containing her $500 check and National Senior Poet Laureate certificate arrived. Our e-mail query about whether she had received her mail inspired her to open her envelope. She responded in shock. She hastily provided photos by her daughter, Shannon Baseman, so we could finish the newsletter and share the winners' names with the world in Sept. Patricia, who moved from Boston to Sundance, Wyoming as a 24-year old mother of three, had never seen a cow close up. Now she writes odes to creatures that converted culture shock to love.