Outside, a mercury vapor lamp
on its tall wooden pole throws blue fire
down onto the gravel parking lot below,
where cowboys riding pick up trucks
instead of horses scuffle with each other
in the shadows to preserve their honor.
Blood and spit dampen the earth.
Loose coins spilled from their pockets shine
like crystals of a broken geode in the dust
their snakeskin boots have scuffed into a roiling cloud.
Inside, Arkansas Slim and his Ozark Ramblers
have knocked off for the night.
From the jukebox Tammy Wynette cries
Stand By Your Man.
On the dance floor the last few couples
struggle to hold each other up,
spinning dreamily toward last call,
eyes on empty, feet barely moving.
David Jibson grew up in rural Michigan and now lives and writes in Ann Arbor. He is an associate poetry editor of "Third Wednesday", a literary arts journal and member of the Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle. He has retired several times, but keeps stumbling into new careers, most recently working for a non-profit hospice agency. He thinks the most important element of his poetry is "story".