After the Rodeo

One who behaves bears
want and likes we hear
called a good neighbor

not so with old friends
whose schisms gone
seeded of bickernesses

the aplomb the plums
you ate so cool and self
defining the sad clown

you know well long
after the greasepaint
has worn to raw down

and now we can laugh
at the one who slipped
and fell unexpectedly

but it’s canned laughter
the harmful joy
of this rodeo

where the cowboy
limps away to lick
his wounds

in the trailer
behind the tavern
plays a country song:

“I don’t know why
I married you.
I like you, but
I don’t love you.

It was just timing,
really, and I still
thought of you and
your friends as boys,

not men, the mean
characters my mom
went out with, and boys
could take you away

from the messiness of home
at least for a little while –
it wasn’t until later and
too late I thought

maybe I did love him
but by then I found out
it doesn’t take long
for most boys to become

men and now wonder
how and who is going to
take me away from
this old song again?”

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