Joel and Ethan Coen, 2006
… death heightens every tension and permits us fewer
of the half-truths by which we normally live.
This is No Country for Old Men. The young
Llewellyn Moss, a Texan born and bred,
happens upon a cash-bag and some dead
hombres. He’ll join those corpses before long,
dispatched not by a captive-bolt stun gun
to his serenely confident forehead,
as some folks, like our good friend Sheriff Ed
Tom, might well have seen coming—no, he’s done
in off-screen by some nameless killer. Death,
in this rough country, is anonymous
and indiscriminate, indifferent as
the tossed coin that determines your last breath,
or the formula that graphs the curved flight plan
of a bag of cash tossed into no man’s land.
TROY JOLLIMORE is the author of three books of poems, including Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry for 2006, and Syllabus of Errors, which was selected by the New York Times as one of the best poetry books of 2015. As a philosopher he has authored On Loyaltyand Love’s Vision. A former Guggenheim fellow, his poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including the New Yorker, Poetry, Zyzzyva, Conjunctions, Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, and Tin House.