You must be stubborn to move here
though your true friends warned you not to.
Don’t be surprised if you wake up in jail,
they cautioned, and here you are,
heaped upon the straw floor of this hoosegow.
There’s no hurry, though. There’s still time
to wait in line for the town’s sole outhouse,
to expose your unknown flaws, and joke
you didn’t know you had them in you,
to go lawless as a mongrel in Raw Dog, Oregon,
half-blind and fully mad in Gouge Eye, Nevada.
You tried to sleep last night
but some drunken miners rang the town bell
until it cracked. You’re far from home
and you know it. No one knows you.
Every time you shut your eyes, you pray
you won’t end up windswept,
shot by a stray bullet, and left for dead,
another lost name faded
from a wooden tombstone.
About the Author:
Matt Schumacher has published two collections of poetry, Spilling the Moon and The Fire Diaries. He is poetry editor of the journal Phantom Drift and lives in Portland, Oregon.