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The Saving of Joel Claughtrey, Part II

For all that day the frantic chase went on,
until evening’s gloom started to spill,
even in the middle of a warm August,
Yukon nights can give a man a chill.

And the gang stared to complaining,
all three of them, Mitchell, Jeff, and Dale,
that if they pushed the chase much further
their horses would soon tire and fail.

Joel just snarled,”I’m still pushing on!
You’ve got just a half-hour to rest.
Then you get back on the trail and find me,
or I’m taking it out on your heads!”

He spurred his horse on, leaving them there,
knowing deep down their complaints weren’t wrong,
but with a gang like this you let nothing go,
if you did, you wouldn’t last all that long.

Pushing his horse until it sweat and blew,
he rode down a hill into a small clearing,
where stood a small cabin, roughly made,
from a chimney grey smoke was rising.

In front of the house stood the fool boy,
defiantly clutching the long rifle,
but next to him stood a female figure,
the sight of whom made Joel’s breath stifle.

He recognized her beauty instantly,
a few lines the only signs of age.
“How can this be?  You-you were swept up,”
was all that he could manage to say.

His dear Running Moon looked him up and down,
said,”I told Red Hawk not to look for you.
He’s too much like his father in that way,
won’t let anybody tell him what to do.

“I didn’t want him to go down to the post,
not after hearing what you are now.
But he wanted to know, to see the truth,
the stubborn boy finds a way somehow.

“And yes, I was swept away in that flood,
nearly killed by the water’s white rage,
washed up on a shore, miles downstream,
my life battered and wasting away.

“A trader found me, brought me to his home,
where I was looked after by his Squaw wife,
broken was I, and unable to leave,
and on top of that, bound to give new life.

“But as the months went by rumors came in,
and at first I didn’t want to believe,
words came of a bandit bearing the name
of a man I loved named Joel Claughtrey.

“That’s why you’ve never seen me since then,
and why I kept our son from your grasp,
I wouldn’t let him meet his end on a rope,
I had to keep him from walking your path.”


Copyright © | Year Posted 2018

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