Gun Oil

by Nick Weaver

Butch Cassidy bathes
the naked expanse of the Sundance Kid
with a cocaine-soaked rag,
exit wounds like the centers of flowers.

Mr. White grips Mr. Orange
slick with blood, in the backseat of a car
slick with blood, singsong screams
“You’re going to be okay!”

The trainer corners his protege
and massages Tiger Balm into every cut,
protective of the well-developed sinews,
their bruising and rising steam.

At a depth of 280 meters,
ballast tanks about to blow,
the captain looks out over his men
and has the urge to kiss their eyelids shut.

When the mortar shells land
all the boys on the battlefield embrace.
They are feverish and young,
and one day they dream of each other.

back to University & College Poetry Prizes