I ain't a son of a gun, but a daughter of slaughter. My Pa a plough boy turned war orphan turned bully-beggar turned hallelujah peddler turned saloon broomhand turned barn house fisticuffer turned bronco-wild roscoe turned hell-bent highwayman turned train-heister turned twice-baptized preacher-mayor turned flesh rancher turning a fine profit turning dog-men loose upon stolen girls, & then I turned up in one of them bellies & Pa went off to turn himself into a land-taker then a mine-staker driving shadowfolk down them pits to turn over their silver hauls so he could turn flag-waver turned pale savior of the meager-wracked dream-chasers turned hand-over-heart fear hawker who wrangled his new nation one town-burner at a time, & I wanted to be owed-to-none like Pa & so begrudged my fog-eyed Ma & turned murder romancer while Pa's serpent-spouting turned we-made-these-broken-lands-into-empire turned heaven-brought-us-here-to-civilize-the-Sierras & went on to turn the meanest in his charge into lawmen all across the plains & then turned his attentions upon my gunplay know-how & so turned me into his cold sharpshooter, death-dealer, mutiny-bleeder, gallows-stalker & right-hand revolver, so long as it wasn't daughter.
We set camp under a star-rugged dome of desert. I'm made of far too much horse sense to poet-up cloud-woven fancies, so I fingertip the night's glinting storyworks. This one here, be the Lounging Lady of the southern skies. I trace her thighs to the lustered lip of horizon. Story goes she dipped her toe in the abiding all-nothing & so sprung a celestial river that rode the night in two. She spoons in close & bites the hair tucked behind my ear. As pure as gumption we be the spillover.
Prisma—her name an abracadabra that scatters all her colors, & all the colors between them colors, into a holy chime of notes I ain't never heard before. My mind can't make sense of all that glory, all that shimmer. Even her shadows be hallowed color-filled like the rainbow paper of dragonfly wings. The lights of her cloak turn like the spokes of a mighty wheel, with each of her steps bidding a turn of that great wheel. She cuts a sluiceway of light through the whole desert. & where that river of light touches, up rushes golden-tongued thrushes singing holy-holy-holies & oh-my-sweeties. & off come my lashes like a crash of mad comets across the wide blue, then the sky too gets to going so all that's left is a twinkle-studded dark forever-hitherward & beyond. I come to find I'm one of them points of light, & I come to reckon I'm the whole lot of them too.