Thursday, August 8, 2019


Junk Food Cowboy

The country isn't walking correctly.
It has a slight limp,
not noticeable from certain angles,
but slowly getting worse.

The country can't stand up tall,
can't maintain a military posture.
Though a board is lodged permanently
in its rectum, its gut

has grown huge and spills out
of its too-tight pants.
It still tries to swagger
like it's in charge.

The country ran sprints and dashes
back in high school, and maintained
fairly decent scores, along with a C average
marked up to an A, for no reason
except it showed up in class,
and knew somebody's daddy.

The country sits at Cracker Barrel
and is gunned down in the parking lot
after eating another meal
of lard and rage.

There is no cowboy strut,
no fifty paces, the sniper
takes aim from his car window
and six are dead. The driver is

another local guy
who mows his lawn, and fires shots
into his yard, but
his neighbors hear nothing.

The country is almost dead.
The country sits in the waiting room
and hopes that somebody else
will solve its emergency.

Meanwhile the sound of lullabies
over the loudspeaker
as babies are born,
eager for their turn at the wheel.
The country eats poison
from the vending machine,
shuffles around the corridors
with its ass hanging out of pajamas.

The country has dementia, and
insists it's in the wrong hospital,
while the nurses laugh
from their vantage point
on the other side of the window.

The country lies on its single bed
with a jar of IV fluids
and a bad show on television.
The program is familiar
and the country knows every word.

The country reclines
with the remote, searches
for a better channel.
The official prognosis
is poor, and the sentence terminal,

but still, the country
is glad for a vacation-
so it dials room service
from the bedside phone,
puts the meal on someone else's tab.

--Leah Mueller

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her next two books, "Death and Heartbreak" and "Misguided Behavior" will be published in Autumn, 2019 by Weasel Press and Czykmate Press. Leah’s work appears in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest.

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