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By Walt McDonald

Many of the beauty all of us desire A West Texas starscape, wonderful by means of any degree, is emblematic of Walt McDonald’s plains. A lifelong party culminates during this, his best—and might be last—collection of latest poems. At seventy, the poet affirms, we are living via the secret of grace at the same time we watch usual stars blink out at sunrise. For he believes "God is aware we're dirt / and counts our steps." In "Leaving the center Years," he writes, "At our age, / each day is grace and each breath / a blessing. existence is grass, stunningly short / yet considerable in such a lot of ways." Walt writes approximately heroes—a mom who taught tumbling; friends and family long past to battle; the courageous at domestic who heal or console; others who rescue from battle zones as many kids as they could. Heroes, too, are these whose constancy and pleasure locate faces in those poems. staring at crows at sunrise in Montana, a husband thinks of his spouse inside of their mountain cabin: If Ursula unearths extra grey she’ll pass on buzzing, figuring out it’s ok, our kids 3 thousand miles away yet effective, once they referred to as final evening. She comes outdoor with espresso, final the door so softly even the crows don’t cease.

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Sample text

I heard the siren at dawn like a gong under water. Out of the shower, dried off, I saw nothing by the curb through the curtains, sat down for coffee and heard a knock, and it was Bobby— for Fred was gone, maybe dead before his face hit the floor and his dropped coffee splashed. [ 33 ] Fathers and Sons Roundup lasted a month, ten miles of ranch without a stray, Cora Belle in town with her mama, sewing her trousseau. Trousseau, a word Carl heard when he fought in France. 1921, good luck for a cowboy back from World War I, too poor for chaps, wearing his army leggings against rattlers and cactus.

Scuffed softballs were kid stuff even to us, so everyone swung hard like bashing skulls. Bombs we dropped stopped nothing, the Ho Chi Minh Trail no wider than a baseball diamond, cargo always moving down from Hanoi docks. I don’t know how many Vietcong died. Between flights, we battered balls but seldom reached the trees. Most Air Police were hairy and six-two. We cleated and knocked each other down on the base paths, picked fistfights on called strike-three, especially when it was almost dark with runners on, bottom of the ninth.

She huddled at night in the cold, December wind so loud she heard the devil at the door, ripping the roof. Storms made her fear flying forever. She grieved for me in pilot training, hanging a Gold Star already in her heart. She believed I’d crash, cursed wild Ohio boys who tinkered with wings and rudders, nothing safe [ 43 ] at Kill Devil Hills, not even the ocean Grandfather fished, his rod bent double with mullet, supper for children forever hungry. All year, he brought home oysters and sea trout, conchs and starfish as toys, until the sudden December storm when his trawler and a dozen other boats went down.

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