Western style, we’ll read these high plains drifters
from left to right: pinch of mountains dusted
with snow, some gun-smoke clouds then nothing but clear blue,
and the camera shy red horse hides his nose-bag
in the shadows of the hearse but the old hound
has no such inhibitions, stares, stares,
straight into your eyes, proud of the bow tie
some mourner has tied around his neck
and the hearse is a low-slung affair
with four carriage wheels
and too many spokes to count, the windows
frame ash desert, make abstracts of the landscape.
One old boy in a chamois jacket sits
up on the hearse under a wide-brimmed hat,
and the nearest mourner holds a rifle just in case
the dear departed decides to change his mind.
The preacher wears jeans and spurs on his boots.
The yellow book he reads from seems too thin
as he reads to the orange flowers planted
on the freshly filled in grave, then nothing again
except two shovels, the eternal clear blue sky.