Strange

“Buckshot guesswork,” he said,
as pulsar dust fell on hay bales
and he chewed on his cigarillo.

He took the beat up guitar,
the one his daddy played, from
the corner and broke into
a Hank Williams number.

Another followed – strange,
Almost malevolent in the half-light,
as though pale shadows of
ghosts –

They played across the
circumference of the globe,
for as far as the boy could see,
they were alive and well in fields.

 Eyes shut hard, the man,
he held such a peculiar note
as fingers danced across
aged frets in some strange seance.

Veins played knot work over
his hands but they possessed such
a finesse, that when he spoke next,
the boy nearly missed –

“That’s your best chance,” he said,
and the man stood. He patted the boy’s
head and all was right again.

Months later when the Injun summer
was strong in power and the
sweat of girls was all he could think of,
the old man was shot down protecting
livestock from the desperate poor.

“True settlers are just old nomads,” he said,
the boy at the funeral, “And my father is
walking where the sun is cool.”

 –Johnny White

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