Two Rides by Jim Bartruff


Who put “Lola” on the jukebox I will never know,

midnight, Dove Creek, Utah, first snow on the ground,

counter seats and Indians, square in their black hats.

In the pickup’s bed, three mule deer bound in tarps,

the road home from the canyon yet a thousand miles,

a thousand miles across flat scrub and Kaibab,

nodding in the unsprung seats, foot flat to it.

For now the coffee thin and bitter, the cold already sharp

along the blue aluminum, here,

one stop under the black sky and the stars,

the Pinto Bean Capitol of the World.



By the roadside the roan and her foal in the snow;

their breaths rising by the barbwire alongside.

The frozen pines steamed.

Tahoe behind us, Los Angeles ahead,

two silver dollars between us.


Jim Bartruff
Jim BartruffJim Bartruff’s work has appeared in Fat City Review, New Verse News, JAMA, Canto, Westwind, Barney, Marilyn, and Drastic Measures. He is a past winner of the William Carlos Williams and Academy of American Poets prizes. A third-generation native of Los Angeles, he was previously a print journalist and screenwriter, now living in Portland, Oregon.