The American Journal of Poetry
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Steve Castro

Two-Bullet Cowgirl Blues


The hoarse throat made the cowhand’s speech rougher
than the patrons at the tavern she frequented as a child. 

She arose early enough to ring the rooster’s neck while it slept. 
There’s no need in waking the neighbors anymore. 
She then set about making her breakfast: buttermilk biscuits
from scratch on a cast iron wood stove
washed down with coffee, dark and strong like her papa. 

Her mama died in a saloon fire, sparked by a broken neck.
Mama was racing down those infernal stairs 
while holding the right hand of her young'un.   

The cowhand walked with a limp, but she was a gifted gunslinger. 
She once shot a fellow dead with the first bullet, then
brought him back to life with the second.  



Steve Castro

The Undertaker


Each tooth was a coffin. His smile was a wooden one.
Inside each coffin was a little bit of death.
He brushed his teeth with kerosene.
He lit a match and then observed himself in the mirror.

He had the brightest of smiles.



Steve Castro

The Wake


The multitude marveled
because water was so scarce
even blue whales lived in the desert
and walked on four legs.

The miracle of turning
chicken blood into water
took place at a wake.

Even the deceased awoke
to inquire as to what
had exactly occurred.

A serpent gave the eulogy.




STEVE CASTRO's poetry is forthcoming in Green Mountains Review, and two anthologies, Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction and Fantasy (Wings Press) and The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States (Tia Chucha Press.) Twitter: @PoetryEngineer. Birthplace: Costa Rica.


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