Those Early Outlaws
—poetry by John Grey

Girl next door laughed.
I was hiding behind
an old oil drum;
with one eye on the fence palings ~
the Younger gang -
and my finger on the trigger
of a cap gun.

She was standing on a box,
peering over the heads
of the outlaws,
pointing at me
and giggling uncontrollably.

She said to me,
"What a goof.
Still playing cowboys
at your age."
She was a year older than me
as I remember.

In my head, :
the backyard was an open range,
the house was Dodge City.
If not for my imagination,
I would have been
totally confined
to one more suburban lot,
no different from
the one she lived in.

She played 45's
on a tiny record player,
tried on her mother's lipstick
and insisted she was
going to be a secretary
when she grew up.

I pointed my gun at her and fired,
shouting, "Take that Cole Younger!"
She laughed some more.
I took that as a clean hit.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and the Coe Review.