Nickole Brown

Sudasi Clement's Mom-mom

Photograph, June 1929

The Carter Family had a hit that summer
with Im Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes.
The ranch hands sang it to their pretty cook,
her eyes blue as Colorado sky. At the chorus
they’d change the lyrics to she
…and I wonder if she ever thinks of me...

The cook is eighteen, sporting dungarees
and a western shirt. No side-saddle ride
for this girl. She’s in the meadow above
Aunt Laura’s Cripple Creek Ranch, clasping
an armful of wildflowers that will sweeten
the table of twenty men come suppertime.

To her right stands one of them, the wrangler
named Jimmy. Hat in hand, he’s gazing at her
with that big bundle of flowers, pollen dusting
her jeans, and you can see his thoughts—
No man’s going to tame this gal, though they’ll
try. She’s smart and free as a filly, good for her.

On her left is fifteen-year-old Louise,
smiling for the camera. Louise is half in awe
of her sister and half jealous enough to spit.
She’ll have to wait eight years for Fiddlin’
Arthur Smith to sing, Beautiful, beautiful
brown eyes, I’
ll never love blue eyes again.