They linger in the evening round the chuckwagon,
slurping beans and thinking of apple pie,
of Sunday chicken dinners. When they wake,
there’ll be coffee burnt and stretched like it was
hiding something Cookie wanted to know.
There’s a human price to the stock
that comes through Abilene, and you can count it
in lost appetites: each twenty dollar steakhouse plate
comprised of a dozen meals that didn’t deserve
the name, that only sat a man straight up in his saddle
and let him ride. If he acted tough about it, well,
that was hooey to save face. Any man among them would stab
a fork through his eye for buttered, mashed potatoes,
something a girl made, maybe, that distant lemonade.