What is reincarnation, a cowboy asked his friend? It starts, his old pal told him, when your life comes to an end. They comb your hair and wash your neck and clean your fingernails, and put you in a padded box away from life’s travails.

Now the box and you go in the hole that’s been dug in the ground. Reincarnation starts in when you’re planted ‘neath that mound. Them dirt clods melt down just like the box and you who is inside, and that’s when you begin your transformation ride. And in a while the grass will grow upon your rendered mound till someday upon that spot, a lonely flower is found. And then a horse may wander by and graze upon that flower and now the flower, the horse done eat, along with his other feed makes bone and fat and muscle essential to the steed. But there’s a part the horse can’t use and so it passes through and there it lies upon the ground, this thing that once was you. And if perchance I should pass by and see this on the ground, I’ll stop awhile and ponder at this object that I’ve found.

And I’ll think about reincarnation and life and death and such and I’ll come away conclude’n--why, you ain’t changed all that much.

Anonymous. Found at a camp in Washington near Spokane. Edited by Kurt Dahlin.