Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Ode to Louis L'Amour (1908 - 1988)

The sound of the rifle bullet
missing its target
echoed through the hot dead air
trapped between
high canyon walls.

A jagged piece of stone
nicked Buck's ear,
but he didn't move.

The sun was relentless.

No wind stirred the dust.

Buck held his breath
and closed his left eye.

The bead on the end
of the barrel
of his Winchester
came into focus
and split second later,
the sound
of a second rifle shot
echoed through the
narrow arroyo.

For what seemed like an eternity,
Buck waited.

when his lungs were about
to implode,
a body fell from the cliff
on the opposite side
of the canyon.

Buck had killed a lot of men
in five decades,
but never
had it felt

He stood and
into the sun.

He spit into the
white caleche dust
around his boots.

For a long time,
he just stood there
and stared at the body.

A little crimson leak
appeared in the chalk white dust
below the dead man.

Buck thought
about shooting him again,
just to be sure.

Not out of fear,
just simple rage.

But even the heat
of that anger
could not diminish
the coldness of his desire
for revenge.

He had no need
to waste another bullet
even if
he could have summoned the will
for another shot.

The blue-black barrel
of his rifle
dropped to his side
as thirty years of hatred
from his shoulders.

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