Painting of Two Cowboys

Consider these men on horseback
mounting a golden ridge in which
everything is perfectly composed,
the anatomy of their stallions
exactly correct and the oil-white clouds
just so. September sunlight
combs their excellent beards.
They’ve rolled the most exquisite cigarettes —
they smoke to die on their terms,
remind themselves of fathers.

It’s hard to say if men like this
ever existed — perhaps, like English kings
or the emperors of Rome, their grace
has been exaggerated in a flatterer’s eye —
but the romance of their habits is not lost on us,
leaning on the window ledge outside the optician’s,
scuffing butts beneath our feet. Any luck, time might choose
to perfect our shapes, inflate this modest backdrop,
maybe give up a good title like Thinkers at Midnight
or Wanderers in the Fog of Youth.

has been exaggerated in a flatterer’s eye —

but the romance of their habits is not lost on us,

leaning on the window ledge outside the optician’s,

scuffing butts beneath our feet. Any luck, time might choose

to perfect our shapes, inflate this modest backdrop,

maybe give up a good title like Thinkers at Midnight

or Wanderers in the Fog of Youth.

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