Since I met you, let you climb aboard
the wagon to where I am going,
I have succumbed to illness.
I haven’t bothered to research dysentery,
nor have I the banknote to session
with a medic to diagnose my maladies.
I offered to locals my oxen,
dropped forty pounds from my load,
and sister Hester died of snakebite
hundreds of miles back
(you buried her and all your sympathy
in all the dry, dust earth)
in a town that would not bargain
wagon tongue for wagon wheel
with this poor carpenter;
We live on meager rations.
If we run out of bullets,
I hope, from our wagon deck,
we might watch the cattle, the swift geese,
the cajoling bunnies, and slowly sit,
scorning the road ahead.
We tried to ford the river, float
like beavers across the Mississippi,
but it seems we’ve been plagued,
all our oxen drowned.
Yellow-eyed and thirsty, we are stranded.
Still, I feel surely, I will live a life
of feverish joy with you.