Poetry and Shorts

Photography and Written works by Shannon King

Header photo by Mark Cunningham


Under the stars when the wind is calm you can smell the desert.

Barefoot on the rocks, gown whipping against my legs. I lean into the milky way above. Hair blowing in the wind.

A lone coyote in a dream last night. Vanished by morning.

The sun rises and two solitary elk stand hilltop, surveying. Antlers tall.

Now, from these porch steps the sunlight warms, a light breeze caresses. A plateau of clouds float above, reflecting the mosaic of rock below. Wall of rain in the distance.

The day comes and I know, somewhere, my horse stands waiting for me.


Collecting the past one piece at a time, I find horseshoes as I ride. Left by those before me.

Years and years of noise, finally silent.

Wind kicks up behind, filling my hair with dust. I tip my head to protect my eyes. Riding to evade the desperation around me.

My life ever in his hands, I remind myself not to give to distractions. Not to take this animal for granted. I am direct, but sometimes not enough. Misinterpreted. Clarity just out of reach.

Now, no longer turning towards whatever sun is offered, I open the door to consciousness and find the stranger in myself. Climbing into the clouds as if I had the chance.

Somehow, in finding me I have lost you. And that’s alright.

I have been exiled for too long.


Standing in the doorway I watch the world unfold around me.

Wind shifts direction from north to south. Walls churn up once again, another storm moves in.

Dusk settles, and in the mountain there is a yearning.


Grasping your hair in my hand, clutching you to me.

I find passion in the softness of whiskers.  Warmth in your hold.

You wake me up.  

Breathless, we ride.

And yet again, I fall.


It runs without warning, this love of mine.

Carving its way as it goes.

Thundering falls, then quiet.

I chase it but cannot see it.

After traveling and horseback riding the many regions of Texas, Shannon King decided to make the Big Bend area her home. Now an empty nester, Shannon continues to ride and travel, focusing on preserving the local natural beauty, including the Chihuahuan Desert and Big Bend’s wild burros. Shannon’s hope is to inspire other women to have the confidence to pursue their dreams and live their best life! You can read more of Shannon’s experiences on her public Facebook blog Confessions of a Saddle Tramp.

Shannon is also a Board member and Editor for the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition.