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Mary Plays the VFW

Saint Paul, 19 September 2003

Strumming Daddy’s guitar in a Montana college town
Mary plays the VFW like a chorus of marching highballs
Resounding Cowboy Set Me Free retreats a long-fretted neck
Blazing from her mouth like a match flame held to promise

Sworn off paramour ski bums and gentlemen wranglers
Mary plays the VFW like a chorus of marching highballs
Cooking parboil riffs stretched over closing time chords
Past pirouettes of jitterbug dancers loopy on peanut shells

Tapping pearly refrains to undercurrents of reprisal
Mary plays the VFW like a chorus of marching highballs
Vacated veterans of foreign wars seize roundhouse slugs
Of chained lightning strained by the chum of grief

Concealing Indian-corn teeth and a nevermore shiner
Mary plays the VFW like a chorus of marching highballs
Wed to a hot-headed Wyoming wildcatter named Johnson
Cast to dust-caked rigs and surrendered to oil undiscovered