It was the story in that part of Texas. Her story now.
It followed both of them, the whitish dirt. A powder,
he said, that stuck. I saw runnels of crenelated dust.
I had never walked in a desert. Never fucked in one.
I drank a piss-warm Lone Star beer. Saved questions.
Probably after he told me, Buddy Clanton was sorry,
even though we were airmen and barracked together.
It was his story, too. But she was his first, and special.
The 8-track he’d shoved into the dash had been hers—
Van Morrison sang, You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me and something I lost
as Buddy said it was soft, the soil where they bedded
down. Said that Wichita Falls was nothing like that.
We were on pass, the F-150 slamming the train tracks
as he hung out a window to lob a long-neck beer bottle
at the billboard for Noconas, a brand of cowboy boots,
the leather as cracked as the dry earth under a blanket
spread for her. We both saw nineteen seventy-three
as a 24-hour pass and “Tupelo Honey” punctuating
those things we felt we had to say about love, home.
At some point, I think I saw the bodies rise and fall.