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Wednesday, November 08, 2006


by Robert Emmett

medicine hat drifted into town
with a black cigar and
the brim pulled down
droning not the flood
but the fire

snuck up behind
the hair-trigger beast
slipped a stone in his pocket
whispered now you’re released
and blew a spark from the fire

the beast rolled an eyeball
on the back of his hand
saw razor lightning jump
from a tattooed sand
as he bellowed his curse for the fire

incandescent shapes
rose from the dead
wove a horse-hair noose
all ‘round the beast’s head
chanting now you’ll be with the fire

so he slung his fear
in the face of the stars
but all the king's mountes
couldn't bank on the scars
of an ever-erupting fire

the smell of his sweat
put a singe in the air
he snarled and he spat
and jumped for his lair
then spun as he hissed in the fire

when the stone did drop
and the stench did rise
red medicine hat
loosed her disguise
for none could see through the fire

Robert Emmett writes where the north wind howls at his windowpanes in the woods of Michigan.