Rio Bravo

Go ahead, say it!
John Wayne
You wuz wrong, Mr. Dunson.
Walter Brennan

About the color of the river.
About its shape and name.
Wrong about the odor of
coming off the river.
Wrong for being so
blue-nose sure of yourself
myself in on under
the river. And about the kinds
of fish in that river. The
parasites in on after
the fish. The
that wants them all.

As for the drive
I’ll set my mark on it
shaped like the river.
A man’s mark,
bloated burro
a rattlesnake hit.
Under my sign my cattle
our your cattle
will wind and flow to
Abilene Saint Loo Wichita.
All those cattlefish
floating off bleaching
beside the rapids.
Those dreary ships our buckboards

Those dreary ships our buckboards
lunging up the waterfalls.
To spawn in Abilene.
My sign a lunatic bull
bobbing like an apple
in a tin tub
in Wichita.
And now you tell me
at this particular bend
I was wrong.


Jerry McGuire
from his book The Flagpole Dance
Lynx House Press, 1990

Used with permission of the poet.

Comments are closed.