By Walter McDonald
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I let the news and brokers talk of death by drowning, crashes, leaps from their bankers' ledges. It's all I can do to understand the dew point during drought, why winds die and where they go, forecasts I knew were perfect that shift under my feet like sand, the wide, true shots from satellites deep in space. I give it straight, no news, no predictions on Super Bowls or children's fate, not anyone's children, not yours, not mine. Queasy on a borrowed Harley, strung out on greasy chicken and french fries from Abilene, I lean into fat flakes stinging like the widow's kisses after last night's gig in Lubbock.
The sun is polished bronze, the road, hot oil and rubber. Our tires sing the old story of journeys, wind in the rigging, family and friends lining the shore sparkling though it's only sand, skiffs shoving out with garlands from our own gardens. Of course it's ours, but how far down before it's Texas? Sand drifts up like tumbleweeds. There's nothing here worth sweat. His mules are here under drifts like graves. This hill may be the tractor; that, the collapsed outhouse platted on the map. But only on weekends, as a hobby, no late nights witching for water, no digging myself to death on stones deep as the earth's core, planting by tractor light, trying to make flat fields say wheat and maize as well as sand.
But only on weekends, as a hobby, no late nights witching for water, no digging myself to death on stones deep as the earth's core, planting by tractor light, trying to make flat fields say wheat and maize as well as sand. It might be dark little pepper clouds at night, maybe a coyote lame in the hip and desperate, cramming his head through the chicken wire and choked to death. The record is six, one short of perfect. With my own eyes. Page 77 On the Farm. Bury the cradled moon and let wild geese fly over.
Rafting the Brazos by Walter McDonald