It was in an Oklahoma cow town
where you found me like a lost memory.
You blew in with the great barges of wind
that washed wakes of dust
over dry streets and even drier trees,
with the air that left
the rows of my teeth rough
and gritty like oysters do when bitten
into rather than swallowed whole.

You had forgotten over time
why I left you a thousand miles away
for this desiccated place. I heard
the shot you fired before you arrived
riding the air like a hawk’s ruffled feathers
but did not step to one side or the other.

The bullet slammed into me where it beat
counter, tearing apart tearing apart
my softer heart. It blossomed in my chest
like honeysuckle twining around
the bones of long-dead deer,
trying to escape through the bars
my ribs had fashioned around it.
Even now you hold the gun’s cold metal
close, warming it as you once
warmed my body in a cold bed.

Kip Knott | Mudlark No. 26
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