Them Fighting Words

Alejo Reinoso /Unsplash

When Lovers become Gunslingers

Tell me why, my tin-star, lover guy
we awake to clear, blessed, red dawns,
skin-to-skin with the safety on
and you kiss me, hard.
We tumble through the fever musk
in a bedchamber, bullet free
as you breath burns our bullshit sin
into milkweed wisps.
Dust in the wind.

Until my touch sparks a revenant,
and I’m face to face,
facing down,
tombstone eyes deep as the grave
all a-gunning for me.
Now it’s high noon at the not-OK Corral
Annie Oakley and Wild Bill
in a standoff, at 50 profane paces,
locked and loaded for another go-round.

Check your aim, gunslinger
this is not our first rodeo,
I’m just a tin-can target
a ringer, so
take your cheap-shot, pot-shots,
your please-take-it-back shots,
and aim your bull’s-eye true
straight through
to my heart.

Dress me up in her memory,
or down to a tumble-dead woman weed.
Lasso me, hog-tongue-tied in a lynching knot,
and swing me from the hanging tree
you’ve strung up from her memory.
You see,
I’ve got a Bowie knife,
to cut her down to size
and my own a Colt 45.
Her name’s etched in each silver bullet.

I’ll face down all six foot four of you
with a lightning bolt from your bastard, churlish blues
and see her six feet under.
Then at the sunrise after her sweet sundown,
just a whiff of sulfur or the crack of a gun
and you’ll taste my sharpshooter’s tongue.
And I will be the wanted one, dead or alive.
I will alone survive
to haunt you.
I want you for my own.


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