The Highwayman Came Riding, Riding
John A. Ward

“Breasts!” said Cooder.  

“What about breasts?” asked Chesty.   

“I once read a poem about breasts.”   

“Who would write a poem about breasts?”   

“I’m sure there are a lot of poems about breasts.”   

“Name one,” said Chesty.   

“The Highwayman,” said Cooder.  “I read it in high school.”   

“Oh, yeah. I remember that one.”   

“His girlfriend shot her breast off helping him to escape.”  Cooder rose from his chair, clutching the banana that came with the tomato caprese sandwich, and pressed it to his chest like a pistol.    

Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!  
Nearer he came and nearer. Her face was like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
               Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.”   

“She died,” said Chesty.   

“Bled to death,” said Cooder.  “Would you shoot your breast off to help me escape?”   

“Women don’t do that anymore. That was a romantic age.  We’re more restrained now.”   

“How could you be more restrained?  The redcoats bound her at attention with a musket to her breast.”   

“Restrained in our behavior, at most I’d get a nipple pierced.”   

“Would  that hurt?”   

She sighed. “The pain, it lasted for days.”  

First published: February 2018
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