Bull Riders
by Larry D. Thomas

    Like the best ballplayers,
    they study percentages,
    whether the bulls
    buck right or left,
    ogling them hawklike
    sometimes for years
    before they draw
    they hope the meanest and wrap
    their gloved hand tight with rope.

    Though they try to block him out
    for better concentration,
    Lane's ever in the back
    of their mind, Lane Frost,
    whom many consider
    the best who ever rode
    till his last bull
    gored his sternum
    and snuffed out his life.

    They say their sport's addictive,
    like the devil
    to the bluesman,
    that they're all but dead
    in the bleak, seemingly
    endless intervals
    between those electric
    eight-second Texas Two-Steps
    with the Reaper.

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