The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
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Poem for Thursday


Gardens of Sand and Cactus
By Walt McDonald


My wife takes salt for starters, and rusted strands
of barbed wire, the iron Grandfather left.
Chips chunks from a salt block mired in sand,
that tongue-rubbed marble artwork of the West,

anywhere cows roam--not buffaloes that lick
their salt from cactus and the bones of coyotes.
Takes bones, a skull, when she sees one. Takes snakeskin
like twisted strips of film. Looks under yucca

for the best, six feet at least. But fierce
grandfather snakes don't rattle until they're sure,
so she listens before she stoops. Finds horseshoes to pitch,
any flint or curved stone shaped like a tool.

Tugging our last child's Radio Flyer in the pasture,
brings pigments back, even the burnt sienna bolus
of owls. Scrapes umber from banks of the Brazos,
however dry, gold dust where bobcats marked the stumps.

Packs, stacks it all. Takes time, fans with her hat,
then hauls that wagon wobbling to our house.
Amazed that she makes gardens of cactus and sand,
I miter frames to hang whatever she's found

and salvaged as art, even rocks she cuts and tumbles
in a barrel grinding like sweet, hand-cranked ice cream,
turning this desert we call home into babies' mobiles,
wind chimes and swings, bird feeders in every tree.

--------

Where Wednesday went: two short articles on Grace Lee Whitney and Star Trek: Legacy, a trip to Target to get new sweatpants for both kids who have managed in the first days of autumn to get holes in most of theirs from last year, a violin lesson, testing younger son on spelling words only to realize upon coming to "weird" (on which he still mixes up the I and E) that it was last week's list, trying to keep younger son's best friend out of the house so younger son could finish his homework (for which the friend blamed younger son and had his revenge by telling me the name of the girl younger son allegedly has a crush on, which I pretended I didn't hear), inviting the friend to stay for dinner since he coveted the turkey burgers apaulled was grilling, watching Over the Hedge with all these boys and enjoying it quite a bit, though not as much as they did -- I feel like I have seen the hyperactive-squirrel-on-Jolt-Cola before somewhere, though how could I not love Bruce Willis as a raccoon and William Shatner and Avril Lavigne as father-daughter opossums? And I was amused that the worst of the villains was in essence a Desperate Housewife (well, Bree -- I don't see Lynette trying to kill a raccoon after the mouse incident), played by Allison Janney.


Seasonal decorations in front of a local house seen on the way to violin lessons.


I love this time of year, when people have scarecrows and pumpkins and pirates in their yards.
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Speaking of Halloween, I now have a Full-Blown Dilemma. Samhain is my favorite holiday of the year, and I was all set to go to my circle's gathering on the Sunday night before, and then younger son's music teacher announced that she was going to try to have a little recital for some of her students to get them used to playing in front of each other, and younger son did not care if I didn't come and was ambivalent about participating. Now it's turned into a much bigger thing, and the mother of one of the students is hosting the event and turning it into a Halloween party of sorts with refreshments and they're all practicing spooky songs and group pieces as well as solos and now younger son does want me to come, and since it will be his first outside-of-school performance, I really feel like I should go. But the Samhain ritual is at exactly the same time, and is being hosted by the friend who first brought me into the circle, I already said I would come and bring food and I offered to drive someone else! I don't know what to do!

Have very full Thursday upcoming: eye doctor appointment, lunch with a friend, working at younger son's school activity fair. Crickets are supposed to be lucky, right? Because we've had three in the house in the past day! Oh, and keep meaning to remind people on my friends list, if you missed my locked holiday card post last week, please read it so I can send you a card!

Oh yeah: and I love Jason Isaacs and his magic tricks. But this is probably not news to anyone. *g*
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