The hours only you and I have lived through, blown up
the size of billboards, flat as the houses—all of it for show. A mirror

ball dangling from a fishing rod shines with faces, each is trying to say
something, each mouth begging us to stop. My snakeskin boots,

my blue-eyed Stetson, the desert wind and brush in flames. Love,
of course, is a good old fashioned duel leaving one of us for dead.

The prop table is empty. The camera is rolling. Rare animals
that only we have been quiet enough to trap call action! and this time

the bullets are real. We will not dine again on lemonade and broken
chairs, nor will we hide our touch. In the grandstand, your Army

buddies are cheering. Your father is eating a hotdog. Your eyes in the brim
shade are dry but you are thinking of North Carolina, of the bungalow

we built on stilts, the hurricanes we talked each other out of.
The Gulls. The Buzzards. The boathouse black water we wore like suits

of armor. Jimmy, remember what is ours so we can take it all.
Put your smallest finger through the hole in the helmet of the man

you shot and ask to wear it. Ask for the language of sunlight to
reheat your love for me. The initials you carved in the crossbeams

of my architecture are becoming legible. The fringe is blowing from
your cowhide chaps and from where I’m standing, you look beautiful.

I am not worried for the one of us who dies, but I do not want to
be the one who doesn’t. The look on my face says I am thinking of our cabin

in the forest where every tree is an antler chandelier—each embrace, a fire-
side Jack and Coke. Here is the creek. Here is the Spanish moss.

And here we are, ready to pull the trigger, our backs to one another,
twenty-steps, turn and shoot. Hot led unzipping my chest and the sky

is blue and cloudless and the dirt beneath my shoulders is soft.
Fried bologna and cheese, the hot tub where you said I was your best friend,

and jars and jars of our favorite pickled jalapeños waiting for us
in the high high heavens, a ghost town of desire. Fluffy walls

and sapphire streets and you, holding my hand as my vision goes blurry.
You, lying beside me as if to say we have the same bones—as if to say

I’ll see you soon darling, I’ll see you soon. A final wound. A brave finale rhyme.
Bright light and the distant scent of eucalyptus. Peacocks sipping

from kitchen sinks, a roast in the oven, garage band angels at a potluck
with sterling silver tea pitchers where you put your arm around me

and I kiss you without looking both ways. We’re sitting at a picnic
table with a man who knows your face, he is pointing

to a hole in his head, he says, I’m sorry I have haunted you.

 

Image Credit:"Duelo a pistola"
mm
Originally from Hilliard, Ohio, Mathews Huey now lives in New York City and teaches poetry workshops at the National Alliance on Mental Illness. His work has appeared or is forthcoming on poets.org, friedchickenandcoffee.com, lambdaliterary.org, therushmag.com, and the Living Waters Review.