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Ellis Paul

Scarecrow in a Corn Maze


Pawnee, Oklahoma

Kristian's Grocery store

There's a rodeo poster  

From ten years before

There's boots and produce

One person in line

Two liars out front

Watching traffic killing time

I looked up from the paper

The cashier cried

Colby James was in a ski mask

In the middle of July


Scarecrow in a corn maze

Tryin’ to find some way out

Storm clouds are comin’

Take shelter in the bar

Let the twister just spin out

I knew Colbys’s walk

From a decade back

He put a camouflage boot

On a mine in Iraq

He hobbled back home

Through the pews,

Through the bars

I knew the man’s walk

Like any face I ever saw

That mornin' he'd been drinking’

He slurred above the gun,

"I only need a hundred dollars…”

Molly counted one by one

The old men on the sidewalk

Playing checkers with a clock

They saw Colby comin’

Even they knew the walk

They're used to telling stories

About their wives, about the game

But this one was the legend

Of a man named Colby James

The Sheriff shot from cruiser

Till nothin’ left the gun

‘Cause he only saw a ski mask

And Colby couldn't run


Pawnee, Oklahoma

Frackin’ gas, drillin’ oil

Plowin’ up the fields

Shakin’ all the topsoil

Raisin’ up towers

Harvestin’ the wind

And all the jobs that blow away

Pawnee will never see again

We are caretakers of oil

Of crops, of the wind

But Colby James was just a soldier

In a war no one could win