know the cold routines of spring.
At dawn, a woodpecker tat-a-tats
outside our glass, but we're already up,
cold again, carafe half drained,
hair brushed and vision hardly blurred.
The bird swoops to a blue spruce
the trail. Elk graze Montana meadows,
and sunlight hits the peak. After coffee,
after crossword puzzles and toast,
prop the door open wide. Let it blow.
At sixty-five, we're far from grandchildren
on both coasts. If a chipmunk scurries in,
worry. Let it sniff raw coffee
and yeast, then scamper to fields of columbine,
nibbling, converting blooms to blood.
coyote that trotted by may double back,
or crouch, or follow a fawn. Elk downhill
will lift their heads and stare.
cougar drowsy in the shadow of rocks
will rouse, blink sleepy eyes and sniff,
flicking its dark-tipped tail.
McDonald is Texas Poet Laureate for 2001. Some of his recent books
are "All Occasions" (University of Notre Dame, 2000) and
"Blessings the Body Gave" (Ohio State, 1998). His poems
have been in journals including the American Poetry Review, the
Atlantic Monthly, London Review of Books, Poetry, The Sewanee Review
and the Southern Review.