Honeymoon at the Oxbow Saloon
We have been dead for two weeks.
The young couple flirting with us likewise died tonight,
and the old cowpoke has been waiting for his wife to go
for years. His mistress here is much older
than she lets on, her face always matchlit,
the lips barely close enough to see that their affair
is beautiful. In the corner, two men
are talking about you. You really are
so handsome, they say, in the borders
of this bearded man is the eager neck
of a poor strangled girl. She would look at us with pure
bedroom eyes if not for you.
You woke up to the plastic ivy and hibiscus
and may have waited before fixing your legs
around my bleeding. Our friend
the wasted rifleman didn't understand
my fertility, though he may have touched me
in my nightmare. I can't think of your mother
as a small thing struggling with a lead barrel,
even if the frozen pheasant egg tucked into her sleeve
is how you think of her now as a woman, the stillborn bird
waiting there forever. In time she'll warm
the cracked shell between her hands, ignoring
the hunter smells of oil and salt. There's yellowing blood
under her nails, and she'll cry for days
with the disappointing news. It's impossible,
she knows, to be a girl.
It may be everyone is staring us into life, as in a canvas
where I've drawn some version of you in coal
and considered carefully the residue
of light. Today,
the complication is just a cameo, a milk-white mollusk
stapled into the brain. You are smiling
in a bar, or in a motel parking lot
with the engine running, waiting for anyone
to catch us.
Look at this,
we can politick and dance just like the locals.
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