Rusty Rose Takes a Bath

by Eric Ode
That desperado, Rusty Rose,
he scratched his horse’s ear.
He said, “I see you curl your nose
whenever I am near.

“I hate the thought, but I suppose
it’s got to be this way.
So up ahead, I’ll shed these clothes
and take a bath today.”

They came upon a riverbed
beside a ragged tree,
and Rusty said, “Now bow your head
and say a prayer for me.”

He grabbed a crusty bar of soap
and stripped down to the skin.
And then without a shred of hope,
poor Rusty stumbled in.

A bullfrog fled without a trace,
a fish came up for air,
as Rusty washed his hands and face,
his legs and feet and hair.

He dried off with a gunnysack
and hung it in the tree.
He climbed aboard his horse’s back,
his hat upon his knee.

“We’ll leave the soap beside the path,”
said Rusty with a sneer.
“I might just need another bath
when we come back next year.”

Text © Eric Ode, reprinted from Tall Tales of the Wild West (And a Few Short Ones), published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Ben Crane. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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