She devours Steel, and he L’Amour.
She leads him to the fiction, where they part
for different shelves. He’s eager to explore
the tough ol’ west, and she the tough ol’ heart.
They meet me at the desk with separate piles.
Unthinkingly, I mix the books together.
I sense his wave of nervousness. She smiles
and quickly sorts the titles out. “Nice weather
today,” she says. He slides his pile away,
averts his eyes, and waits for her to pull
out bags. “Let’s eat at Lou’s,” I hear her say.
She grabs his arm and leads him, tote bag full
of cowboy stories swinging at his heel,
his sidearm holstered by her whim of steel.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
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