I tried to wrap my words around you
too hard for too many weeks
with too little success.
The right ones found me
when I remembered a phrase
I heard an out-of-town judge turn
all those years ago
at the county fair.
In giving his reasons
to the crowd in the bleachers,
he explained why
he hadn’t placed my steer —
an athletic black baldie
with a mercurial temper —
any higher in the class.
The judge slowed his words
over the tinny old PA:
“He’s got some real nice parts…
He just dudn’t tie together
quite the way I need him to.”


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