Walt McDonald


Thin and dying in bed, Saskia remembered herself
as the harlot, Rembrandt as the prodigal son
with a flagon, both of them giddy as sin
and proud of it.  That painting made them rich. 

Years after Saskia died, her husband oiled
another girl's sponged body, so obviously in love
she might really have been Bathsheba,
not just a model with a parchment note.  

Saskia hovered in Rembrandt's heart
and watched, knowing it wasn't her he dabbed
with a brush, pink nude on Saskia's bed. 
Not Saskia, but another would be Bathsheba

forever, dazzling on canvas, his touch
over every inch.  Her husbandís eyes flicked shadows
along her neck, under both big breasts,
a hint of sienna to dimple each nipple. 

Those would have been her breasts
years ago, the ones their own son suckled. 
Saskia would have seen the girl wasn't holding
King David's summons, but love letters Saskia saved. 

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