|Nebraska Center for Writers|
THE GRAVES OF WILD BILL HICKOK AND CALAMITY JANE CANNARY
Their bodies were made of time, like ours. And time|
Will neither be fooled by fame nor bullied by
Tough bluff or bellicosity: No dime
Novel tale will slow time's velocity.
A bankrupt legend, recently married,
But living alone, he was a gunman, worn
Down, eyesight lost to syphilis. Buried,
He lived: Into myth's afterlife he was born.
A hooker and a drunk, she was a youth
When they met and she fell in (unrequited)
Love. Though rough-mannered as a mine, miner uncouth
As a pimp, she nursed the smallpox-infected.
In sunny August, their death month, we read
Their markers all that's left of the famous dead.
KWIK SHOP EPIPHANY
Night came, a wounded bat into the oil-
Stained parking lot of the Kwik Shop, fell among
The styrofoam drink-cups, and for all its toil
Could not rise once more on its hairy wings.
As I pumped gas into my car's ever-
Famished tank, kids sat on the hoods of half
A dozen cars, smoking, laughing, never
Once doubting this muggy moment was lie.
Their radios black-jacked the air with bass
And rapping rhymes fell, bleeding, to their knees.
One kid said he'd kick another kid's ass
If he saw him. His girlfriend smiled, said, "Please."
I washed my buggy windows, headlights, paid.
Was it of such small deaths our days were made?