Border Town

Poem By Allesandra Patti

The days in Border Town shimmer
with dust that hangs in the air palpable as pudding.
The nights lonesome as a coyote's cry,
and black as death, except for the bright lights
from El Paso, flickering like fireflies.
'You're wasting your time, Johnny, ' Sally says,
pouring thick black coffee into his tin cup.
'Them mines are dry as coyote bones
now that the rush is over and everybody's long gone.'
'It's my last shot. Thanks for the grub.'
Pickaxe over his scrawny shoulder,
dragging his gimpy left leg like a curse,
Jake eyes the Black Hills looming, urging him on...
The day comes along when he turns up
with a diamond as big as a tangerine.
Sally can see her future glittering on a rosy horizon:
her best white cotton dress, trimmed in lace,
her drab gray hair shining like silver satin,
the pastor in his tattered coat.
She can even hear the old organ playing
and smell the wildfowers in her wedding bouquet.
Jake's head is full of snake eyes, poker chips, rye
whiskey, and how he'll get back to El Paso come morning.

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