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Lash LaRue by Nels Hanson

Roy Rogers, Tim Holt, Gene

Autry, Lone Ranger—only

you and Hopalong Cassidy

wore the bad man’s ensign.

Strange Zorro, you tangled

villains’ knees with bull’s

stinging tongue, in a flick

bit ready trigger finger, silver

pistol twirling harmlessly

in air. Aloof among bland

heroes you demurred from

Colt or Winchester, your

will’s sharp judgment the lash-

tip of darting eye, flashing

wrist, Higher Mind’s razor-

sudden arrow. Lightning

crack ripped veils of vain

pretense, entered instantly

to warn, expose, chastise,

condemn. Not rawhide but

Raw Truth burned low

culprits, the emblem of Final

Justice gathered in a great

loop at right hip. Twenty-gallon

sable Stetson, raven white-

piped tunic, black pants tucked

in boots knee-high spurred

with wheeled stars, swiftly

you strode alone into legend,

past sheriff and outlaw, citizen,

rustler, jury, judge, all the ranks

of mortal, un-conflicted men.

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. His stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals, and  stories were nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2010 and 2012. Poems have appeared in Poetry  Porch, Atticus Review, Red Booth Review, Meadowlands Review, Emerge Literary Review,  Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine,  and other magazines, and are in press at Oklahoma Review, Paradise Review, Hoot & Hare Review, Citron Review, and Poetry Porch.