Title: With Horsehairs Dipped in Oils
By: Walt McDonald
Poetry from Issue 20.3 (Fall 1997): “The Search After Happiness”
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My wife’s green eyes are jade and rainbows.
With horsehairs dipped in oils,
she brushes corrals and cattle on canvas,
the burnt sienna sand and pastures of our boots.
Combing October lawns like yarn,
we heap dry leaves on flames that float away.
Friends disappear, and nothing we do
could save them. We store the rakes
away from pups gnawing our gloves.
Rocking, we watch them sniff the yard
for bones the old dog buried. We watch smoke
drifting east toward slow whirlpools of wings.
A neighbor’s tin roof shimmers.
Prairie cattle go mad when the wind dies.
They stomp, lashing their tails at horseflies.
We survive hardscrabble drought
like spiders that spin their webs in wind
and anchor them to thorns.