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Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

Starspangled cowboy
Sauntering out of the almost-
Silly West, on your face
A porcelain grin,
Tugging a papier-mache cactus
On wheels behind you with a string,

You are innocent as a bathtub
Full of bullets.

Your righteous eyes, your laconic
Trigger-fingers
People the streets with villains:
As you move, the air in front of you
Blossoms with targets

And you leave behind you a heroic
Trail of desolation:
Beer bottles
Slaughtered by the side
Of the road, bird-
Skulls bleaching in the sunset.

I ought to be watching
From behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront
When the shooting starts, hands clasped
In admiration,

But I am elsewhere.
Then what about me

What about the I
Confronting you on that border
You are always trying to cross?

I am the horizon
You ride towards, the thing you can never lasso

I am also what surrounds you:
My brain
Scattered with your
Tincans, bones, empty shells,
The litter of your invasions.

I am the space you desecrate
As you pass through.



Poem Backdropp Addresses Cowboy - Margaret Atwood