October 28, 2015

Spaghetti Western in Which Bad Me Challenges Good Me to a Duel

Spaghetti Western in Which Bad Me Challenges Good Me to a Duel


by Lindsey Alexander

I got a bottle opener,
with which I planned
to open

this can of whoop-ass—but no,
stupid, I need a can
opener. Still, Good Me,

your ass is the one we’ll define
as grass. No fight’s ever finished
until one of us gets knocked out,

cries, or says uncle. But this time—
six-shooters, back-up

in our belt-loop holsters—because
we both know no one’s as agile
as you.

Rule No. 1: the challenged
has the right to choose
her own weapon.

So I guess, Good Me,
this means it’s ladies’ night—
Lucky us—

we both get what we want
for nothing. You
know what?

You’re the same as me.
You’re not any better
because I wear the spurs,

the black hat—
Your holy-rolling

doesn’t fool me.
And what a pebble I am
for you: Left

foot, right, that piece of
gravel you shuffle all the way across
painted desert: a sentimental step.

Yes, you—our little rock
tumbler, always hurtling
and crashing us clean.

Am I being too mean
for you? Can you not take it there,
Good One?

Let’s settle this.
Take ten paces.
On the count of three,

we draw. The loser,
well—no more,
bygone, adiosed—

My last request?

When the credits run,
list me
as Lindsey,

the Good
or Bad One.



Lindsey Alexander‘s poems appear in Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other magazines. In 2014, she was a scholar at the month-long NEH Institute “Reconsidering Flannery O’Connor.”

Image: from A History of the United States for Catholic Schools, by the Franciscan Sisters of the Perpetual Adoration (La Crosse, Wis.)