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Two Cowboys

I idled up to the old Exxon
station man sitting stubble
faced with tobacco leaking
from his smile.
I said, "Nice evening isn't it?"
He said, "Nice bike. It's a Harley, right?"
I said, "Sure is."
He stood up, cocked his hat a little
to the right
rubbed his eyes
and bowlegged
walked a full circle around
me and the Shovelhead.
He said that his name was Walt
but folkes called him the " the old man"
or "cowboy" depending upon the
weather. "Today they will go with Cowboy
I reckon.
We shook hands like some old friends do.
He told me the fastest thing he ever
rode had four legs. and a mean
disposition before noon.
I asked if he wanted me to take
him for a short putt up the road.
"You won't buck me off the back?"
He spit out his chew, smiled and
climbed on. I brought up a few
revs to compensate for the
extra weight.
He is busy holding on to his hat.
"Whoee this thing is fast."
I never went much more than forty.
He told me there was a campsite
real nice at a nearby state lake.
I told him thanks, that he was
welcome to come by later. I'd
make him a cup of campfire coffee
in a paper cup, and pretended not
to notice the tears in his eyes.
It may have been the wind,
or perhaps, it was the brief moment
of friendship between two traveled
William J. Karnowski


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