Look out, Mama, there's a white boat comin' up the river
With a big red beacon, and a flag, and a man on the rail
I think you'd better call John,
'Cause it don't look like they're here to deliver the mail
And it's less than a mile away
I hope they didn't come to stay
It's got numbers on the side and a gun
And it's makin' big waves.
Daddy's gone, my brother's out hunting in the mountains
Big John's been drinking since the river took Emmy-Lou
So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin'
And I just turned twenty-two
I was wonderin' what to do
And the closer they got,
The more those feelings grew.
Daddy's rifle in my hand felt reassurin'
He told me, "Red means run, son, numbers add up to nothin'"
But when the first shot hit the docks I saw it comin'
Raised my rifle to my eye
Never stopped to wonder why.
Then I saw black,
And my face splashed in the sky.
Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
Think of me as one you'd never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love,
I know I'll miss her.