September 16, 2010

The Secret of Shadow Ranch

Sagebrush does not roll
across every dirt road.

This woman does not garter
a tiny pistol to her thigh

and I do not throw down
a slug of whiskey before I depart

the dusty, dark saloon
that no longer stands.

There is no stand-off
every time the clock strikes noon

and the jailhouse door
doesn't swing shut with a bang.

No horse-thieves. No bandits.
No bandannas slung across noses

hiding outlaw mustaches
and tobacco-stained smiles.

This revolver is not loaded.
These boots are not spurred.

No smoke streams from the cheroot
not clenched between my teeth,

no five o'clock shadowed jaw,
no sideways sneer.