Thursday, June 2, 2011

Henry Starr (1921)

Henry Starr  (1921)

He is riding in a car to Harrison, Arkansas,
to hold up a bank.  It's not that far from Tulsa...
if you're modern enough to quit horses.
He is forty-seven, four decades past holding
the reins of Cole Younger's gelding at Aunt Belle's.
The last time in prison cost him his wife,
his son, Teddy, named for Roosevelt.
Starr squints at his driver, Normal life
is the despair of cautious self-regard.
The carbuncle-faced driver blinks and Starr laughs.
We won't get rich, the old outlaw says,
and we might not see home ever again.
Starr laughs, tilts his Stetson's brim over his eyes,
the joyous last link to the James-Younger boys.

This poem is included in a Red Shuttleworth poetry chapbook, Brief Lives.

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