When she first meets him, he’s cleaning a gun,
and eager to keep at it, doesn’t even
look her way, prim, presumptuous, probably
wearing pantaloons. There are things that should be
his (she’s not one of them yet)–the estate,
the horses, the upper hand. There are gypsies
nearby to blame things on–missing horses,
bad luck, fires, petticoats. Him. She dresses up
tight in black to visit him, fiddles with a
riding crop tells him she’d like to correct
his uppity attitude. This, of course,
is a love nudge, love itself being uppity.
She marries the other guy anyway,
the soft courtly one, the one with the money
that’s made the bad man bad, and made the bad man
look mighty good to her. Meanwhile, he is
cleaning that gun. Everybody is cleaning
that gun, getting it ready for all the things
unruly passion will require.

. . .

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