And If You Wonder How I Could Have Such Heroes

I remember at Christmas
my brother would come home wealthy and drunk
staggering out of the oil patch
looking for love

The men who froze
clanged against the cold nights
were my heroes
They had money cars women
How they drove fast
and killed themselves

When you work in the oil patch
you think you’re giving something
You know the sweat off your ass
has set up the people
who condescend from their Cadillacs

You drink and act tough
maybe get drunk enough to fight
When the money is gone
you disappear like a trapper
into the wilderness of iron

:: Peter Christensen, in Going for Coffee (1981)

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