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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