Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jarbidge, Nevada

Jarbidge, Nevada

The last stagecoach hold-up went down
here... a quarter mile up the dirt road.
The Shoshone called this Bad Spirit Canyon.

The Red Dog Saloon's closed.
So's the school.
Bev takes me to the Open Air
for grilled rawhide,
a slice of cheese, on a bun.

The blonde barmaid's got a dozen tattoos.
She's a worn-from-patching-drywall twenty-five.
She's wearing a grease-stained
buff wife-beater, oil-splotched jeans.

The barmaid carries local blood:
iron-rich, yellowish basalt spires look down
on scraggy junipers, aspens, single-wides,
double-wides, collapsing log cabins,
a dozen grannies and grandpas
stirring Main Street on 4-wheelers.

This is where a rattler wrapped itself
around the leg of a weed-whacking grandson,
then let go after a half-hearted,
no-venom-through-the-toenail bite.

* This poem is included in Red Shuttleworth's 2011 chapbook, We Drove All Night, published by Finishing Line Press.  The chapbook is available through the publisher or from Amazon.

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