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Will Brulé

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Angleton, TX, US

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Fragile Conversation

by

Will Brulé

I never sat too close.

He smelled of yellow stains
And smoked a pipe that dribbled brown.
And though he wore a trainman's cap,
I'd heard he worked in yards
To earn enough for beer and keep.
Not much, I guessed, was left for keep.

"THERE DAMN SURE WAS A TIME!...",
He boomed.
And I, startled from a doze,
Asked "What?"
"I SAID," he said,
"I'D LIKE AS NOT HAVE KILLED A MAN FOR THAT!"

Of course he hadn't really said it,
I mean, before I asked.
But, I wasn't there to argue points,
With July's hell waiting just out the door.
I only drank my warming beer
And hoped it wasn't me that did it.

"YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, BOY?"
"Damn right!" I said.
And though I didn't
Know at all,
I certainly knew the cane he kept,
Though not as well as some, I'd heard.

I never sat too close.