Issue 125, Winter 1992
The story is always the same story,
With every step retraced;
They tell the story in Buenos Aires
And in Uruguay to the east.
There are always two that they talk of,
A stranger and a local guy.
It is always evening. The evening star
Shines in the evening sky.
They have never seen each other’s faces
Nor will they ever again;
The quarrel is not about money
Or the favors of a woman.
The stranger has heard tell of a man
Whose courage has won renown.
Now he has come to see for himself,
And searches all over town.
He asks him nicely to step outside
In a quiet, unthreatening voice:
They both know, and neither would wish
To bring shame on the house.
Now the knives flashed in the air,
Now the battle was joined.
Now a man lay still in the street
Without having made a sound.
They never met before that evening.
They will not meet again.
It was not greed that started it
And not the love of a woman.
No use in being more skillful,
No use in being more fit;
Always the one who dies is the one
Who went out looking for it.
All their lives the two men
Were living for that test.
Time has already erased their faces,—
Soon, their names erased.