Brad Henderson

cowboys & aliens

the night black-sparkling, comin’ back
from town in my granddad’s Buick

Electra—we saw the two
big bright lights, out a couple hundred

yards in the south front pasture.
rustlers, said Goggle. stay

in the vehicle. he got out & yelled,
go on. git. we see you.

off they blinked & all that was left was the
hair brush of meadow silhouette

cows & calves w/ star-licked horns
& eyes. don’t have a gun, he said.

not gonna chase ‘em in the dark.
so next morning he went back,

traipsed around in dew-wet grass—
no tracks, no traces,

no carcass, no blood,
no sign of commotion—on the very spot

he was 100% certain. hard to figure,
he told us later. must’ve been those

little green men. this was just a week
before two Angus steers turned up

mutilated on a neighbor’s ranch
& no one ever figured out who did it.

Brad Henderson grew up as a city boy who summered on his granddad's ranch. The two poems published herein are from a book-length sequence entitled, The Secret Cowboy: the Life and Times of the Rebel Poet Beau Hamel. He is now a blues-rock drummer, ex-corporate engineer, and member of the writing faculty at UC Davis.
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