When Wayne was thirteen
he had the finest blondest hair
the finest features and the finest mind
of all the cousins round

A city boy and cooler about everything than all of us
until we took him hunting

When his first shot hit the rabbit
he ran and cried and held it till it died

At eighteen he quit school with A grades
a month before grad to get a jump on a job
met a girl and bragged of achievement on first date

Over achievement it turned out to be
quick marriage, quick, two children three

Army for security, liquor for the pain
it was twenty years before I saw him again

He was in a downstairs bar
sitting there as coarse and thick as adobe brick

I wanted to roll it all back
reach in for the lost fineness and yank it all inside out

And hold him like the rabbit when he cried
still innocent when it died