Requiem by D.G. Geis

For GW

It wasn’t the first time

I’d seen a cowboy pole dance

in a whore house.

But you did it so well

even the naked ladies clapped. 

All the drunken bull-riders

from Del Rio howling

for you to “take it off.”

Dancing with the topless

prison psychologist

on the bar at Ma Crosby’s--

Goddamn, poor Ciudad Acuna

would never be the same.

Three years later

the sicarios and narcotraficantes

had run off all the decent folk,

meaning the half decent drunks

and college revelers, ranch hands,

and high school virgins

out for their first poke in Boy’s Town,

that Zona Tolerancia

of rutting adolescence

and sparkly badlands

of the teenaged heart. 

I imagine you now

in your high blind looking out

over the South Texas Brush Country,

so choked with thorns and mesquite

that chaps were de rigeur

and our stirrups had tapaderos.

Wondering how you’d ever managed

to rope that wild boar,

and being dragged like Jesus

through a crown of thorns,

the bemused look on your father’s face,

not able to quite decide

whether it was just high spirits

or a deeper freedom

that meant having to rein you in.

The feral sow we shot

and tracked half the night

through the bloody brush;

she managed to get away

but left her right leg to bloom

there under a persimmon tree.

And how we laughed

when two years later

she showed back up

three-legged and oblivious,

limping along with a full litter;

and we decided

that life was like that—

not the deer tick

that finally poisoned you

forty years later,

or laying incontinent

in the ranch house

you built with your own hands,

but going down on a good horse

in life’s tangled reins

and leaving the better part

of yourself somewhere

still worth leaving.