Excerpts > Fall 2001, 75th Anniversary Celebration and Conference Issue
Walt McDonald
Leaving the Middle Years

Leaving the Middle Years

March, when Carol and I stumble out to the deck
at dawn with iced tea instead of coffee --
or find ourselves on the kitchen floor

with coats on in front of an opened freezer door --
we know it's time to go back to the cold
of Colorado to climb, to walk on ice,

collapse exhausted and happy on snow drifts
deep as a house and breathe that rare and heady air.
We raised three babies on the plains,

shared a few swift years of meals with them
and slept, and suddenly they're gone.
Packing for a drive to the mountains,

we think of their first pets, and how they lost them,
the dogs and cats that ran away, the goldfish
and gerbil the older brother flushed down the commode.

Floating on radial tires on the highway,
we know all survivors are Noah, whether we have
two dogs, two cats, or only each other. We blink,

and ten more years are gone. Our cattle graze
and fatten even at night, and nothing, not even power
knocked out by storms, will stop the clock.


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