®

Today's poem is by Walt McDonald

Clouds Whip By in the Valley

Come feel the sleet in your face, see clouds whip by
in the valley. Crows beat and stagger for trees, pines
flapping like flagpoles. Watch that elk heifer bite
the blue plastic tarp and lift it from the sandpile

by the frozen drive. Watch her chomp and toss it.
Always it settles like a flabby ghost.
She must hope it's covering green grit,
weeds, forbidden grass. She bucks like a colt

and kicks, nipping the blue sheet. Fiercely she shakes
and flings, but it falls and flutters humped
around her hoofs. Watch her twirl and quake,
a tantrum, and lower her hornless skull to butt.

She jerks the blue tarp billowing, a teenager
tossing a bedspread, one corner tucked
at the footboard. Elk cows thick with winter fur
know grass from plastic and graze the stubble like luck,

aware of calves in their bellies kicking,
a pack of coyotes a thousand yards upwind,
and somewhere far off, watching,
a puma lying quietly behind rocks.



Copyright © 2003 Walt McDonald All rights reserved
from Climbing the Divide
Seren Books / Dufour Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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