Ms. Dickinson’s TV Western for Old Guys
A cone of force, perspective sharp —
pricked with gleams from sabers silvered—
moves out at dawn to cross the plain
and save the souls at the distant fort.
The cadenced clink and jounce grow clear —
the troopers—tall and muscled at jaw—
go by—go by—go straight-backed by—
their heads toward the distant fort.
The sun comes on—grows gold—grows white—
as soldiers dig at tunic clasps—
untie their kerchiefs—shake canteens—
their eyes now straining for the fort.
The sun is faster—gets ahead—
the horses slow—the cone distends—
contracts like gum when sergeants halt—
to chide the ones who forgot the fort—
which now at dusk—unbugled, black—
looms up against the bloody sun—
the massive wooden gates unhinged—
askew around a sooted hole—
through which the troopers mutely ride—
to contemplate the cooling clay.
Reprinted by permission of "envoi," Vol. 123