Arthur Winfield Knight
Bill Carlisle: 1964
They gave me life for robbing
the Portland Rose Train
and the Overland Limit,
then they reduced my sentence
to 50 years, and I thought
I’d be grateful. I wasn’t.
When I escaped, I robbed
another train near Medicine Bow,
but the posse caught up with me
at Rock River. I hid, unarmed,
in a corral filled with sheep,
but someone shot me in the chest.
I smelled of wet wool and dung
when the guards brought me back.
The men in my cellblock
all began to baa.
The prison doc said
I’d be dead within a year,
but the chaplain got me a parole
20 years later. He promised
he’d serve the time himself
if I ever robbed another train.
I borrowed enough money
to open a cigar shop in Kemmerer,
then I bought a motel and cafe
on East Grand Avenue in Laramie.
Everyone came to see the old outlaw.
All the papers wrote me up.
Last year, the doc told me
I have cancer; I’ll be dead
by the end of this year. I laughed
and said I’d heard the same thing
in 1919 but, at night, I can smell
something rotting in my body.