The rolls the piano plays spin a dialogue
scripted between greed and pathos,
existential angst scaled over
horse lather and cattle
wearing new brands. The real west
was rougher and more honest
than this. Still, there is room for me here,
a foil to your bad intentions
or a mirror to your good,
in one of three voices
allowed women here.
I am the whore, choosing that role
over the schoolteacher
I could have been,
sipping sepia-stained water
you buy me as whiskey,
playing tipsy while dressed
as no woman in Colorado
ever was then,
anachronistic lipstick lining my smile.
The jangle of coins in your pocket
matches the rattle of spurs
on your boots.
I will listen to the chime and go
the direction you nudge,
following metal, melted and smithed
by accented hands.