cheating death

Young and wild in a
black bootlegger's house
I fork over my five for
the pint of J. T. S. Brown
and give my beret that
came all the way from Madrid
to a pretty black girl
who admired it.

Staggering back along the
railroad track toward town
in a dusting of snow I finish
the pint and fall in a stupor.
Wake up sometime later lying
face down between the rails
the sun just lighting the
eastern rim of the world.

Twenty minutes later back in
my hotel room I hear the
train whistle as the morning
freight passes through.

I smile and shudder
knowing I've cheated the
bad old bastard one
more time.

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