Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wyatt Earp (1909)

A Ciara Shuttleworth sketch, "Wyatt Earp," of Earp as a young man... before his arrival in Dodge City, Kansas.

The poem is from Brief Lives, my poetry chapbook published in 2007.


Wyatt Earp (1909)

The Mojave rattlers are terrified,
leave the bald man to crawl his copper holes.
He lists his occupation as Mining Dynamo
that winter.  A man of sixty-one should
not have to kill for Wells & Fargo,
but he shovels one more grave in weeds
for a debtor to float below sand.  Sadie huffs,
helps Earp lug a fluid-dripping body
from the Packard's back seat,
nags that the brass trim is tarnished.
At midnight it rains like ten men pissing.
Sadie slips into an unbutton-me-quick chaos dress,
but Earp is not in the mood.  Why, she asks,
are we always one step from heaven?

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