Stirring : A Literary Collection

Walt McDonald


By a barn with kittens smashed --
skulls crushed, little teeth bleeding --
all you can do is lead the horse
to water, go back and scoop them

in a bag.  Later is time enough
to find the bully.  
My logger father saw men crippled
in sawmills with broken backs,

others with only thumbs.   
I've seen boys tossed
and stomped in rodeos by bulls.  
I saw Otto crash in pilot training.  

Engine on fire, he called the tower
for help, miles from a runway.  
Ejection seat jammed,
he rolled inverted

at a thousand feet,
unlocked the harness and shoved,
but the parachute tangled,
wobbling down to impact.

Below the skull,
something forced blood to pump,
made us wonder if nerves
felt the morphine shot,

nothing about the corpse like Otto
when the tightlipped corpsmen
lifted the gurney
and the back doors slammed.   

Walt McDonald
Photo by: Arte Limmer
Date of Birth: July 18
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Publications: American Poetry Review, The Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Poetry, etc.
Books: Eighteen collections of poems and a book of fiction, including All Occasions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), Blessings the Body Gave (Ohio State, 1998), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), and After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988)
Awards: Texas Poet Laureate for 2001; the Juniper Prize (University of Massachusetts Press); George Elliston Poetry Prize for The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State University Press and University of Cincinnati); four Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; six awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, including the Lon Tinkle Memorial Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career; two NEA fellowships

Stirring : A Literary Collection

| Current | Previous | Submit | Editors | Join | Links | Contact | Sundress |