Sargon Goes Westward

Sargon Goes Westward

by Reilley Cox

It is unclear if the cactus were in bloom,

______if he ate the fruit like the peeled crab apples of his youth,
___________the dress of thorns removed by the gentle hands of a pocketknife,
______or if he saw,
in the depths of the Grand Canyon,
______the ship bearing his wayward father sailing down the Colorado,

___________if he tried to uproot his brother from the cracked soil of Arizona,

______if he found the gnawing eyes of the women and their dancing to be too much;

if Tashlututm was sober,
___________the fuchsia of her dress unstained;

______or if the children had been left enough ripe tomatoes to last it out,
the brother and sister,
______the ashtrays unturned;

or if he allowed himself,
______just once,
____________to take off like he had read,
______a Louis L’Amour cowboy,
to drink coffee with gritted teeth and to forget the insomnious wanderings of alcoholics,
______the land dry enough to keep his footsteps here another hundred years,
___________alone,
______solitary;

or if it matters,
______this cactus on the bedside table,
___________the nurse shaking him awake.

______He does not wake.

“Almanac Images” by Michael Chaney