A.N. - An exercise in form controlling tempo for me. Each stanza is a line shorter than the last, adding to the rushed feel as the moment draws closer. I also did this a little with the punctation I used, but not nearly to as much of an effect. Does it work for you?



Hands cold and clammy
as dust crunches under boots.
Sweat dripping into eyes
as the shadows fade away.
Onlookers silent
as the ritual is begun.
Heavy weight by my side
is little comfort
under the noonday sun.


I wonder if he'll look back.
I won't, I can't.
Just keep the hat pulled low
and eyes focused on the goal.
Anything less, and death awaits.
I try not to blink,
ignore the outside elements.
If only my mind were so honed.


He's probably as nervous as me,
but then again, maybe not -
he did issue the challenge.
I gutted out an acceptance.
Guts, yes -
they will serve me well
as long as they're not spilled.


Legs feel unmotivated
as the distance between us widens.
Shirt's glued to my back,
belt's a bit too tight.
Focus, focus!
Foot in front of foot.


The saloon that night
was boisterous and dim.
Booze clouds my memory,
but did I really say yes?
Bit too late for that now.


Eyes drift sideways
looking for escape;
instead, they find my family
and my insides seize up.


My brother, staring stoically.
My sister, weeping quietly.
My girl, she isn't here.


Mother, please forgive me.
Father, am I now worthy?


O child, please turn your head.