Two-Gun Lil is five years old.
She wears a purple skirt and vest
with white fringe, leatherette holster
for her matching six shooters.
She rides a broomstick to the edge
of the yard, careful not to trot
across the rotten cesspool cover
half hidden by waist-high grass.
A rhubarb patch by the empty barn blocks
the other end of her trail. She’s heard
that rhubarb raw can kill you.
She ties her stick pony in an empty stall
and worries that she’ll never catch
any cattle rustlers with so much in her way.
Inside, Gram has hung the jelly bag
from a knob on the cupboard door.
“Don’t touch! The jelly isn’t ready to eat.”
Nothing Lil can do for now but
accept Wonder Bread with butter
and sugar, folded to keep her hands clean.
“You can’t shoot with butter fingers.
Now go back outside.” No one tells
The Lone Ranger to go play. He doesn’t
worry about riding Silver into a cesspool,
or getting a mouthful of raw rhubarb.
Kemo Sabe won’t ever see his gram
thin as a fence rail and wonder
what he could have done to save her.
Karen Douglass writes poems, novels, a blog, and grocery lists. She lives in Colorado with three dogs, one cat, and her family. You can visit her at KD’s Bookblog, or you can come to Colorado. Her books include Red Goddess Poems; Bones in the Chimney (fiction); Green Rider, Thinking Horse (non-fiction); Sostenuto, (prose poems) and The Great Hunger (poems), which is available from Plain View Press (2009).