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Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

Written by: Margaret Atwood | Biography
 | Quotes (9) |
 Starspangled cowboy 
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face 
a porcelain grin, 
tugging a papier-mache cactus 
on wheels behind you with a string, 


you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.


Your righteous eyes, your laconic 
trigger-fingers
people the streets with villains: 
as you move, the air in front of you 
blossoms with targets


and you leave behind you a heroic 
trail of desolation: 
beer bottles 
slaughtered by the side 
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.


I ought to be watching
from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront 
when the shooting starts, hands clasped 
in admiration, 


but I am elsewhere.
Then what about me


what about the I 
confronting you on that border 
you are always trying to cross? 


I am the horizon
you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso


I am also what surrounds you: 
my brain 
scattered with your 
tincans, bones, empty shells, 
the litter of your invasions.


I am the space you desecrate
as you pass through.



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