Walt McDonald
V3:E7 July, 2001


We caught a cougar lolling in a cave,
a long shot with binoculars
across a mile-wide valley.  What glossy,
tawny fur, her tail long as a snake,
the dark tip flicking.  

She raised her head, eyes closed,
grace at the top of the food chain,
no grizzlies here, no wolves.  
She stretched, and left the cave
and blinked, nose sniffing

from side to side like radar,
no haste, no cubs to watch.  
We lost her among boulders,
slipped our backpacks off
and propped binoculars

against pine trunks.  
We thought of her crouched
near big-horn sheep or mule deer
nibbling with round blue eyes.  
Or maybe watching a town dog

sniffing for rabbits, loping along,
tail tucked too late,
whining and scrambling back
from a cat ten times his size,
wide, pink mouth and fangs.

Walt McDonald
Photo by: Arte Limmer
Date of Birth: July 18th
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Email: walt.mcdonald@ttu.edu
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

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