Dodge (a magnum opus)

When your silhouette
surmounted the hill
Dodge was down
to nil
You peeked through
a humid dirty
windowsill
at a yellow calendar
on the wall
When your shadow
checked into
the rustic hotel
the pop. was zero
still
The dust-swirl streets
were just a shell
of not so long ago
Ambling and shuffling
your spur scuffs
make poor faint echoes
on the musty floor
Forcing the hinge
of the rusty
tavern doors
where only a squeak
speaks of the
boisterous past
Grey cigarette ash
once foisted
on the bar
catches a shaft
of light
before the day
burns out
leaving faint
night stars
Desperados
again in flight
and at large
have long flown
as star dots wink
through
superfluous
bar slots
All have served
their stretch
their sketchy faces
etched in
fading wanted posters
warning of a danger
long passed
A breeze chills
the mesa
and hills
and passes
through the
darkened jail cells
The avenues of dirt
no longer absorb
the trills of
the church bells
Whirling dust
follows dried weeds
swirling through
the tower
and whistling
in the hollowed
rusted metal
The drone of bugs
settle and echo
through the cold scrub
Shouts and gun blasts
propelled out long ago
into vast space,
the footprints of
the Clancy Boys
erased;
Only soot hints
burnished
on a chimney mast
evince the smoke
from the tannery
blast furnace
Standing poised to last
white wood planks glow
on the church, the silo
and the bank
slowly rotting inside
in silence
In the funeral parlor
a dehydrated dark rose
stands slumped
in glass
amid half-finished
caskets
You check out
not signing the book
the ink dried in the well
Casting a last look down
from the hillcrest
at this restful
corpse town
A ghost goes west
riding out
on an equine wind

c. 2001, 2008 Evan Gilling

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