Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rigorous (Feast of the Cathartes Aura)

He saw fit to leave

me, a two-timin cretin

close enough to town

so I would see it

hazy and indistinct,

taunting me on

the squirming horizon,

a dark speck that would

come to be the

exclamation point on

a sentence composed of

nothing but bullet points,

bar fights in reeking saloons

innocent men who died too soon

cast their last curses

at me from gurgling mouths

their favorite parting shot

was calling me a coyote,

snarling, I was a trigger-happy


So I paid for a rabid life

with a merciless death

by a greedy innkeeper

and a reward seeking rifle,

all I remember hearing

is the sharp crack

of the Winchester,

the splintered snap

of buckshot against headboard

and the faint punch

of lead boring into flesh

“You looked meaner in the posters,”

He’d said as my deathbed blackened

with my vitals.


I was dragged like a prize fish,

dripping and limp

to the sheriff’s cells

much to his chagrin

my eyes glassy and narrow,

frozen in half-blink,

mouth curved in protests

never given sound

the sheriff thanked the inn keep

with a small stack of crumpled bills,

muttering jovially to his

stained mercenary,

“glad we

didn’t have to raise

the gallows”,

I tried to smile,

thankful for a death of

gunfire instead of garroted

by the raw and burning

squeeze of the noose.

All I could hear next was

The crunch of prairie under

useless shins as I was

dumped on the outskirts

like a bale of slop

by a clean shaven deputy

scowling at his grisly task,

the only pall bearers there were

the vultures and the lonely squeak

of the wheelbarrow I had been tossed in,

a decaying parcel for the collected gullets

of the desert skies.

Under the slow tread of seconds

ticked off by a buzzard’s wing beats

beak snapping expectant

for the me, a platter of

soon-to-be carrion,

the ambrosia of the scavenger

held in a steadily rotting castle,

ligaments like crumbling mortar

in knees

now mortified,

when it hits me,

we are all someone else’s victim


I try to laugh, but only a

chuckle of flies escapes me

heralding the rush of feathers

just to my left

a subtle click of talon against

parched land

I am no longer able to gird

for the end of this plunderer’s life

has gone to the birds.

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